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Negotiation: The Bottom Line

Negotiation: The Bottom Line

By nature, I am a skilled conversationalist. My current position is as a negotiations manager, after all.

As a negotiator, the rules are very simple:

  1. You have all the power.
  2. You have what the other party wants.

It's all about mindset. No one will believe that you deserve or even want something if you don't believe it yourself. Build your argument as to why you should get exactly what you want and nothing less.

Here are a few pieces of advice that will help anyone seeking to improve their negotiation skills.

Know exactly what you want.

It's key to take some time before any negotiation to reflect and plan out what you need to walk away with. Your goal must be extremely clear, and your purpose for wanting it must be the driving factor. The more passionate you are about why you want, need, and deserve this, the more confident you will come across when it's discussion time.

[Related: How to Ask for a Promotion (and Actually Get It)]

Know your bottom line.

Now that you know what you want, it's time to be realistic. No negotiation ever goes exactly as planned. You want to ensure that you know precisely what you're willing to give up and what is non-negotiable.

It's called negotiating for a reason: There are two or more parties involved, both with real requests, so there will have to be a bit of give-and-take.

[Related: Seven Things Bad*ss Professional Women Don't Do]

Know all your facts.

Know all your facts. I cannot stress enough the importance of this step. Knowing why you deserve this and backing it with cold, hard evidence is the icing on the cake and the determining factor of winning a negotiation.

As women, we sometimes like to downplay what we have done and the impact we've made for the sake of not wanting to "brag." Consider this your wake up call: I need you to brag. Create a list of everything you have done and quantify it (what impact has it made, who it helped, etc). This is a winner's manual.

Know that "no" doesn't mean "never."

You've done everything listed above, and yet the answer is still "no." Don't get discouraged. "No" means "not yet" in negotiations. Sometimes it means, "We need to see more from you."

You have to know what odds are against you and try to find a positive perspective to deflect these odds. If you are true to my first tip, you know not to walk away with "no" for an answer.

Congratulations: You're officially a negotiator! Please let me know if this helped you in any way.

[Related: How My Dad Taught Me to Fight for Equal Pay]


Elesia Forgie is a professional Negotiations Manager. You can find her at

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.