Career Advancement

To Become a Better Negotiator, Start Practicing

Are you confident in your ability to negotiate? If not, it’s a skill worth developing. Negotiating isn’t just about asking for what you want — it shows a current or future employer that you know your worth, you’re interested in moving your career forward, and you can express yourself clearly, even in a potentially stressful situation.

In the Forté webinar Women Lead: Negotiate for What Matters, Julie Morton, Associate Dean, Chicago Booth Executive MBA Program, not only shared practical advice on how to negotiate, she demonstrated how it’s done. She said, “The only way to learn how to do this well is to practice it, quite frankly, and to practice it out loud. It’s one thing to think in your head what you want to say about negotiating and how you approach it. It’s a totally different thing when those words actually come out of your mouth.”

Know What Matters to You

Before you start a negotiation, think through what you’re really hoping to get out of it. Your considerations might include your job title and responsibilities, opportunities for advancement, salary and bonuses, non-monetary compensation such as vacation days, and lifestyle factors like a flexible schedule or the ability to work from home. Julie said, “At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if you negotiate well if you’re negotiating for stuff that you don’t care about.” 

While it’s important to speak up for what you want, you never want to treat a negotiation like a game. Julie said, “While you might love wheeling and dealing, you’re creating an impression of how you’re going to fit in to that company’s culture and of what it’s going to be like to work with you. That doesn’t mean be a pushover, but that also doesn’t mean be a bulldozer throughout all of this.” 

Role-Play the Negotiation Ahead of Time

Before an important negotiation, consider practicing with a friend or colleague. It might feel a little silly, but role-playing the conversation will help you prepare for the real thing. Watching other people negotiate can also help you improve your skills, but we rarely have the opportunity to do so, since most job-related negotiations happen behind closed doors.

In this webinar, Julie and two of her Chicago Booth colleagues, Maureen Dowdle, Senior Associate Director, Global Career & Leadership Development and Chris Lecatsas-Lyus, Director, Global Career & Leadership Development, role-played two negotiations. In the first conversation, a woman receives a job offer and opens a negotiation with her potential employer about working from home one day a week. In the second, a woman whose job responsibilities have grown meets with her boss to negotiate increasing the scope of her work further and formalizing that with a title change and salary adjustment.

It was fascinating to watch the conversations play out and see how the women expressed their thoughts and concerns. After each role-play, Julie answered conversations from the audience and shared additional tips on how to negotiate effectively.

To see the role-plays and hear more of Julie’s helpful advice, watch Forté’s recording of Women Lead: Negotiate for What Matters. The webinar is now available on demand.

A full library of previous Forté webinars is available to Professional Access Pass members. For $100/year, Access Pass members receive exclusive invitations to Women Lead webinars. If your company is a Forté partner you may be entitled to free Access Pass. Check our partners to see if your organization is involved. Access Pass members also have exclusive use of the Forté Job Center; you can browse positions and post your resume to be seen by leading companies seeking top talent.

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