Panel Provides Advice on How to Negotiate Effectively
Daylian Cain, assistant professor of organizational behavior, has a simple piece of advice for people who'd like a bigger salary in a new job: Ask for it. "Since raises compound over your initial salary, if you get an initial extra $10,000," he said, "that can be worth over $1 million over the length of a career. That's a nice chunk of change to give your grandchildren just for asking. So be assertive."
The importance of assertiveness was one of the key takeaways from a panel on March 29 hosted by the Women in Management Club on negotiating in the workplace. While the advice by the four panelistsóCain, Professor Constance Bagley, Janice Shade '94, and Elizabeth Smith Maoówas primarily directed at women, the lessons they imparted could be used by anyone. "I used a lot of these techniques when negotiating for jobs myself," Cain said. "The key is to be aggressive, not offensive. Get them on your side so that they are willing to help you."
The panel began with a role-play between Bagley, professor in the practice of law and management, and Smith Mao, who spent 25 years at Texaco and was the first female corporate level vice president, in which the newly hired Smith Mao tried to negotiate for better pay from Bagley, who played the managing director of a consulting firm. Their point was to establish the tenacity and forethought needed to advocate for greater salary. Bagley explained that often women will just accept a first offer, while men will negotiate for more. Cain noted that there is a perception out there that if a man asks for more, he'll be seen as confident; a woman does the same, she can be perceived as pushy and unlikeable.
But skills at negotiation pay dividends long after the beginning of a job. Smith Mao explained how she laid the groundwork for a major promotion at Texaco by using the interest of a competitor as leverage. Shade, founder and CEO of TrueBody Products, talked about how crucial negotiation skills were when she decided to launch her own company. "Part of being a good negotiator is figuring out what you don't know and finding someone you can trust who does know," she said. "Knowledge is crucial to a good negotiation and can be the difference between getting good terms from an investor and getting a terrible deal."
For MBA students, the key now is to be prepared for that initial negotiation. Cain stressed that it's important to put yourself in the right frame of mind, and convince yourself that you deserve more than offered. "Don't forget you care about this more than the people hiring you do," he said. "Any extra money goes into your pocket, but it often doesn't come directly out of theirs."