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Understanding the Role of Gender in Negotiations with Beth Fisher-Yoshida, Ep #397

Gender in Negotiations

What is the role of gender in negotiations? What narratives influence negotiations? Sometimes, we forget that we have agency in how we negotiate. As an expert in negotiation and conflict resolution, Beth Fisher-Yoshida has learned that one thing is foundational: to improve your negotiation, you need to start by building self-awareness. In this episode of Negotiations Ninja, she shares how understanding gender roles—and how they impact your mindset—impacts negotiations and what you can do about it.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:30] Learn more about Beth Fisher-Yoshida
  • [2:09] How gender affects negotiations
  • [4:10] Effectiveness starts with self-awareness
  • [8:33] Gaining the confidence to ask
  • [11:20] How agency affects negotiations
  • [13:34] The relational aspects of negotiation
  • [16:46] Two techniques to prepare for negotiation

How gender affects negotiation

Everyone has a gender. Everyone is born, raised, and socialized in their world, families, and communities through education, religious background, etc. We all carry messages around about the gender we were born into.

There is also a cultural orientation around gender. We are given an idea of what girls and boys should act like. We take those messages with us as we grow up.

Why does someone act the way they do? Why don’t they speak up more? Why are they aggressive? It all has to do with how we understand our roles in society according to gender.

Effectiveness starts with self-awareness

What stories have you told yourself based on your cultural gender norms? To understand how you think of yourself as a negotiator, you need to think about where those stories came from. Why do you think you’re weak or inexperienced?

What influences shape who you are as a negotiator? Once you realize where the narrative comes from, you need to see how it influences your mindset and behavior in a negotiation.

Beth points out that girls are socialized to be nice, likable, nurturing, etc. That will influence how you show up. If you’re taught to respect elders and negotiate with someone your senior, you may sit back and wait for your turn.

But it will be difficult to assert yourself with an older person if you’re carrying the message to sit back, pay attention, and respect them, or you’re being rude.

After Beth walks people through that self-awareness exercise, she helps them identify which stories are helpful and move them closer to goals and building relationships and which stories get in the way.

How do you strengthen the stories that help you? How do you modify the ones that get in the way? You’ve gotten where you are for a reason. It’s about figuring out what you’ve done right and building on those things.

It’s an emotional process, especially when you realize you have to modify your belief system. Some people have built their whole lives on what they believe about themselves. But one thing is certain: to become a more effective negotiator, you have to start with self-awareness.

Gaining the confidence to ask

Putting in good work doesn’t always get you seen. It certainly doesn’t always get you what you want. That’s why you have to ask for what you want. 

As a consultant, Beth would have wonderful conversations with prospective clients and wouldn’t get the assignment. She’d question why she didn’t get the work. It was because she didn’t ask for it. But how do you gain the confidence to ask?

Start with small wins. Show up. It takes courage to show up, even if you don’t get what you want. At least you established a relationship and started building rapport. You laid the foundation for the next negotiation. It will gradually become easier with experience.

In this episode, Beth shares two techniques she teaches to help people become more confident negotiators. Don’t miss it!

Resources & People Mentioned

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