Negotiation Skills Every Mum Needs for Business and Home Life
When we think of negotiations, we often think of salesmen or boardroom meetings, but very rarely about our everyday lives. However, we spend a lot more of our day negotiating than we realise. If you’ve ever had to figure out with another person what to eat, you’ve negotiated. Children and teenagers constantly try to negotiate – a child for a treat, a teenager for an extended curfew. We learn at a young age that we must negotiate with others to get what we want, but negotiate is not something we’re naturally born with. It is a skill that becomes honed over time, and a group of adults that have had plenty of practice at it are mums.
Meanwhile, in the workforce, women rarely negotiate. Often, women take what is given them, resulting in lower pay and fewer benefits. Employers, even other women, take advantage of this. Women liken negotiating with going to the dentist, so it’s no wonder more women are not negotiating. However, with all the practice they get at home and around town, women are in a unique position to build these skills in ways that benefit in the workplace as well.
With Practice Comes Negotiation
A negotiation is nothing more than a discussion between two or more parties with the goal of satisfying as many of everyone’s wants and needs as possible. The discussion takes place in order to delineate how this can be accomplished by offering solutions which resolve any conflict in the exchange. Often in a negotiation, one party is trying to persuade another party to give them something by offering compensation of some sort. At home, that compensation may be a cookie or a video game while at work, that compensation is your livelihood.
Don’t Be Afraid.
The most important skill a woman needs to negotiate at home or on the job is the willingness and courage to do so. Many women don’t want to negotiate, either because they think it will make them look greedy or because they think they are being offered the best they can get. We don’t want to be perceived that way professionally, yet we stand up for themselves at home. This is an unfortunate irony because we are great at negotiating with some of the toughest opponents – our kids.
Mum Skills on the Job
This brings up a very powerful point about mums in the workforce. We already come equipped with a variety of important job skills just by virtue of being mums. Any mum who has dressed and packed their children off to school for the day can organise an office in a cinch. Mums who have had to convince their children to eat their dinner have had practical training in sales and marketing.
Research is Natural
If you are reading this article, you are exhibiting another important job skill – research. Before you enter any negotiation, you should have your own side researched, whether it’s why the client should buy your brand or competitive salaries for your position. Mums have to do research all the time to keep up with the day to day changes in their children’s lives, from booboos to homework.
Roll with the Punches
More than most, mums know how to be flexible, and this is a skill we should carry with us into the workforce. This involves being ready to accede to the demands of our job, but it also means knowing how to say know, and knowing how to ask for your own accommodations. We play this give-and-take game as mothers every day, and shouldn’t be afraid to take that attitude of compromise and flexibility to work. Don’t be afraid to make your own demands, but be ready to take on a few extra responsibilities in exchange. Part of knowing how to be flexible is to know when to be flexible, and when to be firm.
Mums carry a lot of skills from home into the workforce, more than we are often credited for. Ironically, many of us don’t use these skills to negotiate more for ourselves. We’ve had so much practice, just from being mums, that there’s nothing stopping us from applying these skills in the workplace, especially when it comes to our pay!
About the author:
Cassie Brewer is a health professional in Southern California. In her free time, she enjoys writing about her passion (healthy living of course!) and everything beauty related. Nothing makes her happier than helping other be the best version of themselves they can be. You can read more at cassiebrewer.weebly.com and follow her on twitter @Cassiembrewer
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