Negotiating in Business-Land

The Boss-E side of my personality is making a major appearance this week.  I’m in Southern California at my corporate office for meeting after meeting after meeting.  Actually, I’m typing this on the airplane….wishing the mild gut-wrenching turbulence would stop.  For my own safety and the safety of those around me, I better remain seated.  After all, I don’t want to spill this plastic cup of Minute Maid on the nice man beside me, causing widespread panic like Snakes on a Plane. 

For most of the week, my company will be updating its Business Plan and Business Model.

  • Business Model = spreadsheet that shows a company’s budget and cash flow.
  • Business Plan =  how a company operates in its field (marketing, staffing, production, sales, etc.).

For my entire career, I’ve always been at the negotiating table with men.  I’ve worked hard to get where I am, but I still think they need me there to balance out the testosterone levels.  All I can say is, it’s been both interesting and frustrating. 

If most women are like me, we simply don’t approach negotiations the same way.  For men, it’s a battle to be won…against the economy…against the competition…against the forces of nature.  If my business partner shows up to the meeting tomorrow in a suit of armor, I wouldn’t be surprised.  Women, on the other hand, don’t come bearing armor.  Plus, it’s not very fashionable in this century.

If you think about it, a lot of situations require negotiation…

Man:  I want barbecue ribs for dinner.

Wife:  I’d rather have baked chicken.  I have a new dress on today and ribs are too messy.

Man:  I said I want ribs.

Wife:  Well, I said I don’t.

Man:  Then I guess you won’t be eating, because I’m making the damn ribs.

A lump forms in your throat.  Tears well up behind your eyes.  Your man doesn’t care about you or your new Ann Taylor halter-dress.  He didn’t even notice that you spent half the day doing laundry and cleaning the kitchen.  Your face feels hot.  You can’t hold it back…and….

Wife:  Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Man:  Okay, we’ll have the chicken.

The thing about us girls is that it’s hard for us to take the sappy emotion out of an argument or heated negotiation.  We want peace.   We want to find the middle-ground.  The guys can get in each others’ faces, name-call, and still be best buds when it’s  all said and done.  I can’t even imagine crying at a business meeting, but it’s still hard for me to be an emotionless shell just because I’m in a conference room talking arguing about budgets.  Come to think of it, maybe the armor would help.  At least no one would see my mascara running behind the face shield.

How do you react when your opinion is challenged?  Are you are good negotiator? 

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