Elletourage has partnered with Young Women in Business (YWIB), a central forum connecting ambitious, like-minded women across educational fields, careers, and industries. We have a simple, but common goal between us: help women be successful through networking. This blog post was submitted by YWIB. We look forward to many more in the future.

Mitra Kiamanesh has over 30 years of international experience in mediation, intercultural project management, conflict resolution and negotiation, including teaching at SFU’s Beedie School of Business. Last week, Mitra opened our eyes on a few key things we have to prepare for and keep in mind, when we enter any negotiation, whether in our professional or personal lives.

“In business as in life, you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.”
– Chester. L. Karrass

1. Ask for What’s Feasible

Before starting, say, a salary negotiation, do your homework! What is the industry average? Does the company need you? What is the company’s current state? What is the ceiling? What are some of the arguments the company might have against your proposal and how would you prove that you deserve that promotion? Coming in prepared, with statistics to back up your asks, will add weight and professionalism to your points.

woman on laptop

2. Everyone is Right

If you think about it, everyone thinks that their perspective is the right one. However, with this approach, an agreement can never be reached as everyone’s “right” does not match. It is important to think about similarities and differences in your points of view and negotiate around them. Don’t ignore cultural sensitivities! We all come from different backgrounds and have different points of view.

3. Have a Reservation Point

Coming into negotiation, have these three things figured out: what you want – the ideal outcome, what are your maybes – things you can play around with and are willing to concede on, and your non-negotiables. You have to be true to yourself and strict about your non-negotiables. If a negotiation starts putting your non-negotiables at risk, you have hit your reservation point and it’s best to walk away to avoid regretting any decisions made.

4. Environment and Body Language Matter

Be very mindful of the setting in which negotiation takes place. Certain seating arrangements can either make or break a conversation. For example, a round table is inviting and erases any power dynamics, as everyone can see each other and sit at the same level.

As for body language tips and tricks, nobody has said it better than Amy Cuddy. You can watch her TED talk here.

5. Listen

We can’t stress enough how crucial it is to practice active listening. Acknowledging the fact that you heard and understood what the other person was saying by rephrasing his or her words will show that you were listening, you care about their position, and you want to reach an agreement. This type of listening calms people down and sets an overall positive atmosphere.

This post was written by: Young Women in Business, Vancouver Chapter


If you’re interested in learning soft skills like negotiation, expanding your professional network with incredible peer and mentor contacts, attend a future YWiB Vancouver event. Check out their events page.

About Young Women in Business
Young Women In Business (YWiB) is a central forum connecting ambitious, like-minded women across educational fields, careers and industries.

Our City and University Chapters across BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario provide young professionals the support, skills, and networking opportunities that allow them to achieve success on their own terms and be engaged members in their communities.

For more about the organization, visit ywib.ca.