I love dictionary.com. They send me a Word of the Day and I am often surprised at how appropriate the word they send is to whatever I am involved in at that moment.

Like this week-I had just hung up with a coaching client who was talking about how she did not negotiate very well on her own behalf when she had suggested a partial work-from-home schedule to her employer.

Then the word Nummary came to me in my email and caught my eye. When I read how it was pronounced and then saw the definition (of or relating to coins or money) I thought: “That is spelled incorrectly. It is not Num but Numb for many women I work with when it comes to negotiating.”

Why do many of us go numb when we have to negotiate for ourselves?

I read a blog from Harvard Law School on negotiation and it said:

Women negotiate more assertively for other individuals, such as their employees, than they do for themselves, research finds. Because negotiating for others is a communal behavior consistent with the traditional female gender role, women may feel more comfortable pushing harder for others than they do for themselves, researchers argue. Consequently, in negotiations for other people, women effectively narrow the gender (pay) gap in negotiated outcomes. 

It’s Ok To Have An Imaginary Friend

When we decide to accept this hard truth then we can do to better in our next negotiation. Essentially, we need to act as if we are negotiating on someone else’s behalf.


Try This Before You Negotiate:

Gather the info so you come prepared. Go to salary.com, paysa, glassdoor.com, the Bureau of Labor Statistics or payscale.com and know what the salary range is for someone with your skills and experience. It takes the guess work out of why you are asking. You have proof and proof is always power.

Practice negotiating. Grab a friend and practice your ask. Then practice again.

Be OK with rejection/hearing no. One of the things I tell my clients to do when we talk about negotiation is to get comfortable with asking for things and hearing no. Part of the reason we often don’t ask for what we want is because we don’t want to hear someone say no. Crazy logic since if you do not ask you do not get.

This week ask to move ahead of someone in line, ask for 10% off your next haircut, ask for a free dessert. It does not matter what you ask for but that you ask. You will either get it and how great is that or you will get a no and find that the world did not come to end.  Rejection is the next step to yes.

Become someone else.  As you get ready to negotiate pretend you are negotiating for someone else. Remind yourself what the extra money will do for this person. How good they will feel if they have it. How they will be able to put it towards a new furnace, car or their child’s education. Take advantage of your innate communal nature and go to bat for your imaginary friend (who just happens to look exactly like you?).