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A Woman’s Guide to Successful Negotiating: Interview with Jessica Miller
Today in my networking challenge I’m interviewing Jessica Miller. Jessica is the co-author of A Woman’s Guide to Successful Negotiating. Currently, Jessica applies her negotiating skills as a Commercial Real Estate Advisor at Cushman & Wakefield.
So thanks so much Jessica for sharing your advice on successful negotiating with us!

In case you are reading this at work and can’t watch the video, you can read all of the great advice for successful negotiating below instead!

1) What are the common negotiation mistakes that women make and how can we avoid them?

The biggest mistake that women make is they don’t ask for what they want. And it’s so easy and you can do it nice and politely just throw up the question. Whether you’re shopping and you’re asking for a discount or whether you’re in the situation where someone’s offering something but maybe it’s not really what you want, just ask. Whatever the situation is if there’s something you want to throw it out there politely, be nice about it and just see the reaction you get and go from there. That’s the number one thing – women are afraid to ask. You just feel comfortable doing it a couple of times practicing you’ll be amazed at what you got just for asking for it.
The second mistake is a lot of times especially in a professional negotiation situation, women will take a style that isn’t really theirs because they’ve seen it work for other people. You have to be yourself. You have to find your own negotiating style for successful negotiating. And if being aggressive is actually your preferred style and it works for you go for it. But for most women, I would say figure out what that style is. It’s more relationship based if it’s more what’s the common ground here and develop that as opposed to being very competitive.
And lastly, woman tend to take negotiations personally or situations personally. Even when it’s not personal. And if you get emotional, if you take it personally you won’t be able to focus on what you really want to get out of the situation and you won’t be successful negotiating. It will cloud your judgment and you’ll react poorly. So, it’s not personal…don’t take it personally!  And even if it is in your head, don’t let it become personal when you’re in that situation. As well as there is nothing wrong in taking a break to and asking for a break. Actually, if you’re getting emotional in any way, you definitely want to get yourself out of that situation, collect your thoughts, get your head in the right place and go to the bathroom, whatever you do to get out of the situation without letting the other side see you get emotional.

2) What are some common differences you see when negotiating with men or women?

I think every situation is going to be different and a lot of times we like to generalize it and say men versus women. I like to think of it more on competitive style negotiation which tends to be more of a man’s way of negotiating and seeing things as a game and getting as much as they can versus women who really think more in a relationship terms and with a lot of win-win situation.
It doesn’t really fall into those categories, but I would say if you’re dealing with the men then the best way to approach it from what I’ve found, you need to really do that preparation take that step and figure out how you can position yourself in a way that they take you seriously because you know your facts, you should lay out of the facts very upfront with men.
You can create that legitimacy that you need to set the stage properly to get what you want. With women, again from our findings, it’s a lot more about the relationship and you can use that relationship because the other side wants to as well and find a common ground. It can be a little more honest you can read each other better and you can really communicate with what you’re trying to get out on the situation. And use that relationship for the worth of that relationship. I opposed to just getting what you want out of it.

3) How can we get what we deserve in salary negotiation?

I think salary negotiation are the trickiest negotiation. My advice and from my experience, my father actually wrote a whole another book on just salary negotiation, from what he’s taught me over the years as well the best way is to avoid the salary talk upfront. Get them to fall in love with you as a candidate to the point that you’re the only candidate they really want for the job.
And if they don’t get you, they’re going to go back to the drawing board and start looking for resumes all over again. Once they know you’re the right candidate for the job and you know that you want the job which is just as important the salary comes in later.
And the best way I found again is to think of it in a big picture. It’s not just about the face value of the number they’re offering and again each job is different. If you look at it not just the number, figure out what it is you want for that job and of course ask for a little more upfront than you would actually take that job for. That’s one tip.
Another one is it’s not just about that number. If the occasion is important to you, resources, structuring bonuses are important to you it’s a whole picture, not just one thing. And ask for it and definitely don’t forget to negotiate even if it’s your first job, there’s still room to negotiate if you’re the right candidate and it’s the right job for you. You can convince them of that.  Don’t forget to ask for it even if it is your first job.  There is still room to negotiate.

4) What are some of your favorite successful negotiating stories you wrote about in your book?

We interviewed some absolutely amazing women about how they negotiate and when I tell a lot of their stories from the book. I found it fascinating that these amazing women found it harder to negotiate for themselves in personal situations and much easier to negotiate when having your company behind you or negotiating on behalf of your client.
But when it comes to asking for what they want specifically, it’s a different situation and they have to approach it differently and to remind themselves that they deserve it. Go after it that way and not think twice about it just because it is for them as opposed to a business transaction.

5) What is one thing you wish you should have known as a young professional woman just starting out on her career?

I would say figure out what you want, same as negotiating. Figure out what you want, how you going to get there and do everything in your power to prepare yourself for the future. Take opportunities, any opportunities that arises. Take it to as far as it can go and you’ll never know where it’s going to lead. Follow through on everything you say you’ll going to do and opportunities will come to you and just be prepared. Figure it out and make sure you’re doing something you enjoy.

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