Tips for Becoming a Baller Negotiator

A girlfriend and I were talking recently and we agreed; negotiating is hard stuff — it’s awkward and uncomfortable and kind of like a pap smear — you just want it over (unless of course you love it and are bomb at it, please teach us your ways if that’s the case!).

I found this interview with two negotiator experts on Goop really great, and wanted to highlight some of the points below. Please also share your tips in the comments!


On how to psych yourself up beforehand

First, notice that whole paradigm of “pysch yourself up,” like this is a competitive sports match. Try on a new narrative, that what you need isn’t bravado, but preparation, willingness to be uncomfortable, and curiosity about the other party’s needs. And remember, you can feel fear and self-doubt and do a great job with the negotiation.

On creating leverage 

It’s all too easy to believe you have no leverage, that the other party “holds all the cards”—especially early in your career. Leverage is essentially what you bring that is valuable to someone else, plus your ability to help them see that value. In your preparation time, get clear on the value you bring. Consider what the other party wants (and values) that you have.

On accepting the first offer

There are lots of reasons not to accept the first offer, especially when you are starting your career. One is that you want to get into the habit of negotiating. If you’re tempted to accept a first offer ask yourself: “Is this offer PERFECT?” Does it meet every one of your carefully prepared list of needs or wants? If you’re not sure on the spot, ask for the offer in writing and agree on a time frame to consider it.

Or, consider making the first offer. When you are clear about what you want and don’t want, this is a powerful stance. Plus, the first offer generally anchors the negotiation, so why not set that anchor where you want it to be?

On building confidence

Notice how you are relating to your own requests. If a woman feels like she’s “fighting” with the person she’s negotiating with, or like the person needs to validate her worth, she’s more likely to harm the relationship, because of the way she approaches the conversation.

But imagine something different. Imagine a woman who is comfortable with what she would like to earn, to support herself and her loved ones. Imagine that she is completely committed to finding the right fit for herself, but also non-judgmental towards any employer who can’t meet her request, understanding that it simply means they aren’t a fit right now. She’s going to be able to make her requests in a much more powerful and more respectful way.


Good advice, right? One thing I’d add: the power of the “positive sandwich.” Whatever you’re negotiating, whether it’s divvying up house chores with your significant other or talking to your boss or coworker, start positive and end positive. It sets the tone and makes a world of a difference.

See the full article here.

Photo by Jake Terrey

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