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Sep 01 2016
ICEL Recap: Understanding Gender Differences When Negotiating
D'Ann Johnson, CCE, Roofers Supply

Professor James Holbrook and Adjunct Professor Stacy Roberts, instructors of negotiation at the University Of Utah S.J. Quinney Law School, drew our attention to the difference between how the male and female brains are hardwired to receive and process information. Many of these processes are genetic while others are considered to be the result of "implicit bias" - the involuntary effect of perception. These are ingrained in our psyche from birth and are social/cultural in nature.

One significant point made is that there are four different negotiation situations and four different negotiation strategies:

Women tend to negotiate from the top two categories which are more emotion driven while men tend to negotiate from the bottom two categories which are more action driven. Men and women can and do cross between these categories, but men are seen as less capable of emotional bases negotiation as they may be perceived as being "soft" or "wishy-washy" while women who negotiate based on fact can be seen as harsh or bossy.

Another significant point to remember is that you have your own "implicit bias" and should frame your conversation "first to defy or refine your stereotype." This framing takes place when you look at your own personal expectations of the other person based on gender.

Finally, it is important to remember that there are seven (7) elements in every negotiation:


1.   Relationships (i.e. car salesman one-time relationship); on-going (with a co-worker or customer)

2.   Communications - verbal/written

3.   Intent

4.   Options

5.   Legitimacy - objective facts/hard data

6.   Alternatives - if not this then this

7.   Commitment - written or verbal agreement/contract binding parties to agreed outcome.

These elements not only help you prepare for a negotiation but can also assist in locating areas where negotiations have broken down.