Why Women Do Not Ask & How To Negotiate Better

November 18, 2011

I had the privilege of hearing Melanie Billings-Yun, author of ‘Beyond DealMaking’ speak this week on the subject of why women don’t ask.  Melanie has a Ph.D. from Harvard University in diplomatic history, an MSc from the London School of Economics, and a B.S. with high honors from Portland State University. She is the author of Decision Against War(Columbia University Press, 1988), as well as numerous articles on negotiation, mediation and dispute resolution. She regularly speaks to professional associations and business conferences around the world about negotiation and relationship management. You can learn more about her here:

Beyond Deal Making

Melanie believes that women don’t ask for 5 common reasons:

1. Fear of conflict

2. Communication differences

3. Concern about impact on relationships

4. Fewer mentors, networks

5. Social aversion to ‘aggressive women’
In order to help her female clients overcome these obstacles so that we ask more often, thus engaging in profitable relationship building, she suggests:

1) Focusing on the interests of all parties

2) Seek solutions not victory

3) Decide issues on fairness

4) Use positive language instead of, ‘why not’ say, ‘how can we make this work?”

5) Consider negotiation as a pull and not a push (like sales)

6) Combine assertiveness with friendliness (smile when you ask for things)

7) Demand valid justifications

8) Have a reason for everything you ask for

9) Ask the negotiating party what they are looking for

10) Consider the three points of fairness: equity, 2 party dialogue and did you keep the spirit of the argument?

What do you think? Does this resonate with your experience in negotiating?


5 Simple Steps to END Child Sexual Abuse NOW

November 13, 2011

This week, many of us witnessed in horror the alleged wide-scale failure in leadership that occurred in the Penn State community to protect children from a sexual predator.  There are endless questions to be answered as to how this situation was able to occur; but in general most people seem to want to know what they can do to be a part of the healing process for the victims.  However, here are some statistics we all need to know:

Child sexual abuse is now an epidemic. 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthday. The median age for reported sexual abuse is 9 years old. If your child is molested, there’s a 90-95% chance it was done by someone you know, not by a stranger.

Rather than continuing to let this situation continue to fester within me, I decided to take action and start a conversation with all of you regarding what we can do to help end the cycle of child sexual abuse in our communities today.  This is an incredibly painful and disturbing subject matter to think about because of the precious innocence of the victims.  However, if we continue to let that discomfort keep us from doing something about it, then the perpetrator will continue to prevail and the abuse will never stop.

I welcome your input, recommendations and insight.  Join me, won’t you?

Here are 5 simple steps YOU can take today to END child sexual abuse today:

1)      Understand How To Spot & Confront a Possible Child Predator

Tips for identifying and confronting a possible predator

2)      Buy & Wear a Blue Silicon Bracelet that Symbolizes Child Abuse Awareness  

Be prepared to talk about child abuse to those who ask you about the bracelet.  This is a highly stigmatized and shame-ridden subject. The more we don’t talk about it, the more children who will continue to go unprotected.  Be their VOICE.

 3)      Ask about the Child Abuse Reporting Policy & Procedures at Your Workplace/Organizations

If there is not such a policy in place, take a role in putting one into effect. If there is one already, make sure that the process has been clearly communicated to all of your colleagues by your administrators.  Also, look into having an expert on child abuse speak, such as a policeman/woman or a social worker or counselor, at your workplace.

 4)      Talk to Your Children & Family about Child (Sexual) Abuse

This process begins by doing your own research on the subject and determining what is most appropriate to share with your children based on their age and/or developmental phase.  What is most important is that you are creating a safe and trusting environment with your children, or the children in your life, so that they have the space and time and security to talk with you about anything that is bothering them or making them feel unsafe.

 5)      Follow These Steps When Considering a Program for Your Child: http://www.stopitnow.org/9questions

What else? What are you going to commit to start doing? You can begin by sharing this blog with your community. Thank you.

Your Fall-spiration Booster Shot

November 9, 2011

With the days getting shorter, the temperatures dropping and the overall state of the state getting well—dour; I know ALL of us are in need of some ‘back to basics’ rejuvenation when it comes to our approach to our businesses, our self-care and our life in general.  Taking a few minutes to consider your values and your talents should help you to get back to doing what you do best AND in planning mode for your NEXT BIG THING.  Now, get to work:

1) What Do You Value Today?

To get started with this whole big ‘ol project of self/life improvement/upgrade, we have to begin at the beginning, at the very crux of where our priorities are set—our value system.  Just like so many themes that we are discussing, our value system is not a formal or stagnant entity that remains consistent throughout our life. It shifts as our life does through maturity, relationships, milestones, children, etc.  So, what matters most to us today is what your value system is RIGHT NOW.  So let’s be terribly dramatic, and pretend that today was your last day here on earth, how would you want to design your day? What experiences would you want to have? What would you want of this day? What would you want to contribute? What would be significant enough for you to have accomplished to state that your last day had met your expectations?  After you have pondered these abstract questions, try to extract the themes or essences of your answers.  We want to know what values show up in an exercise like this.

2)  What Are Your Talents Today?

Talents are skills and abilities that you do better than most  You must understand what your ‘special sauce’ is in order to make a bold impression with others.  Your talents are what open doors for you and what keeps the spotlight on you when others have lost the attention of the crowd.  If you are trying to work on ways that you can expand a greater experience at work, then consider what your particular talents are there; and if you are focused on your life outside of work, then consider what just shows up there. However, what is often special and unique about you outside of work, could often help serve you at work, but perhaps in a more refined and ‘work appropriate’ manner.  It’s so much more fun to be transparent and your unique self everywhere you go, versus stifling your essence.

Since no one exercise works for everyone, I like to offer a smattering of options to my clients and let them play with them so that they can find the one that brings out their richest self:

What makes you different from everybody else?

What are your remarkable differences?

If you were on a blind date (with someone whom you REALLY liked), what do you tell your suitor about yourself to is most appealing?

If you were applying to ‘America’s Got Talent’, what skill would you most want to showcase?   Furthermore, describe your performance.

What do people most appreciate about you?

If you were being roasted, what would be said about you?

Create the most unique biography of yourself for a very juicy contest that you REALLY want to win!

If you were a product, what would you put on your label to sell yourself?

Come up with a fun way to collect feedback from friends/ family/colleagues on what THEY think your particular talents are (contest, simple email, Face book post)

What do people consistently tell you they love about you?

What makes you memorable?

Simply said, your talents are your single most important differentiator—identify them, polish them and flaunt ‘em baby!!!

Okay, enough from me for now. Now I want to know from YOU, what you uncovered about yourself in this exercise and how you are going to use this information in your life today to do things differently. No more same ‘ol, same ‘ol….thing FRESH and BOLD. Now, do share your brilliance, won’t you?