Last weekend, I gave a talk on The Art of Negotiation. When available, I’ll also post the video of my talk. Here are the biggest takeaways:

  1. Everything is negotiable.
  2. It’s all about the relationship.
  3. There are fears on both sides.
  4. Know your value and also understand what you do and don’t know.
  5. Stand your ground. Some things are not negotiable (like quality.) This is not in contradiction to item #1; it’s about knowing when to walk away.
  6. Be kind, not nice.

Don’t undersell your worth. –Netia McCray

One story I shared was of a young woman who had graduated from MIT with an engineering degree. She came from a modest background and she was the first college graduate in her family. When offered her first engineering job she was elated to hear her pay would be $25/hour. Coming from a home where everyone made minimum wage, this seemed like a huge sum. However, in comparison to others with her degree and experience and for the position she would be taking on, she later recognized that this was a demeaning offer. Whether this was gender bias, race bias or something else entirely, she had every right to ask for and expect more. She was worth more.

There is nothing wrong with being happy to accept less, but there is injustice in someone expecting you to take less because they do not think you are worth more. These are the times when it is important to know your worth and to stand your ground.

Thank you to Happy Joe for inviting me to speak with such an awesome group! Thank you also to Sandi and Nick Batik from the WP Austin group for helping with the logistics and to For The People for an amazing space for the conference. Thank you to my fellow speakers – it seemed like we planned our talks with how much the topics overlapped! Of course, the most important person to thank is my husband Michael who gave me ideas for my talk and helps give me the courage and confidence to share the lessons I’ve learned.

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