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Online Book Club Recap: Negotiating Your Worth

money-articleWomen lose up to a million dollars in income over the lifetime of their career simply because they are afraid to ask and negotiate.

In our July 31 online book club, bestselling author and negotiator Victoria Pynchon explained how to ASK for what you want, including more money at work. Scroll down to listen to/download the teleclass.

Interestingly enough, says Pynchon, women start their careers expecting to be paid 4% less than men; but that discrepancy increases to 23% less at their career peak. This is despite the fact, as Pynchon also pointed out, that women are known to work longer and faster when assigned the same tasks as a man. In one study, men and women were asked to count dots until they felt like they had earned the $4 they would be paid for the task. On average, women worked 22% longer and 10% faster than their male counterparts!

Unfortunately, despite the fact that women work longer and faster than men, a 33% wage gap still persists to this day. Exploring the themes in her book, The Grownups’ ABCs of Conflict Resolution, Pynchon explained that women can close the wage gap tomorrow if they learn how to negotiate.

Pynchon defines negotiation as a conversation that leads to agreement, pointing out that women love conversation and agreement. She suggests that the best way to start any negotiation conversation is to find out what the bargaining partner’s interests are. “Negotiation allows us to have the rambling conversations that women love to have,” says Pynchon. Start by asking things like: What are you interested in? How’s business?

Pynchon offered three key steps to successful negotiations.

1. Ask diagnostic questions

Ask basic questions to ascertain what your bargaining partner wants out of the negotiation.

According to Pynchon, 93% of all negotiators fail to ask diagnostic questions, even though doing so will significantly improve the outcome of the negotiation. Remember, money doesn’t have to be the only bargaining chip in the negotiation. Look for other opportunities and outcomes, such as ways to promote yourself or business.

2. Anchor first and anchor high

If you want to maximize your return, anchor first and anchor high (on a target salary or project bid, for example), because it will influence your bargaining partner in your favor. Be prepared to make concessions, and ask for reciprocity—in other words, ask that the same courtesy be returned to you.

3. Frame the terms

In any negotiation, it is important to define “frame” the terms of the negotiation. Pynchon says that by framing the negotiation, you control what the parties talk about and how to approach the conversation.

Following the discussion of her book, Pynchon answered several questions from participants.

Q: How should you handle a situation about having an inefficient, disorganized work environment?

A: Believe it or not, start with food. When approaching a potentially uncomfortable conversation (e.g., a negotiation), Pynchon suggests meeting in a casual place over a meal. This is because food triggers the release of oxytocin, the trusting hormone. She also suggests starting with small talk, and of course, asking diagnostic questions.

Q: How do you handle a negotiation situation in which you are offered a job, but the salary is lower than what you want or need?

A: Pynchon says to start by giving them your number, then follow with a stock phrase such as, “There are a million working parts to this deal. I would love to work here. Let’s talk about the ways we can meet your budget needs and my needs too.” If you feel reluctant, don’t! Pynchon warns that the first salary number will anchor you in that job for as many years as you stay there. If you are still hesitant, Pynchon offers a few more stock phrases. Say, “Today I’m willing to work for (x amount). I think that in 6 months, you will find that I am working at (xx amount) level. (You anchor it). Let’s talk in 6 months.” Finally, if the bargaining partner is not willing to budge, ask what went into the budget requirements. You might be able to help the hiring manager review the budget to meet the skills that you bring to the table.

Pynchon also strongly recommends collecting research on to see what the market value is for your job and services.

Q: How do you market yourself when you want to take your career in a new direction?

Pynchon says it is crucial to know who your market is. “Read what they read, write for the journals they read, join their groups, speak at their events, blog, blog, blog, blog, blog, and USE social media!” says Pynchon. She says it is important for those professionals to know that you are a member of their “club.”

Learn more negotiation tips in Victoria’s article: “The Ten Commandments of Negotiation for Women.”

Victoria Pynchon, J.D., LL.M, is co-founder of She Negotiates Consulting and Training and the She Negotiates blog at ForbesWoman. You can buy her book from our online bookstore here