In a business environment, when men negotiate with women, sometimes the proposition can get dicey. In my writings, negotiations skills training and presentations on negotiation, I've always indicated that all things being equal, women are better negotiators than men.
There's a lot to be considered in my reasoning, but at the core of my assertion is the fact that women tend to observe more of their environment when negotiating. In so doing, women capture more subtle meanings and non verbal signals that occur; being very observant during a negotiation is one of the key ingredients to becoming a savvy negotiator. In addition, some of the subtle nuances of negotiations, touching as an example, cannot be applied in the same manner when men negotiate with women, as when men are negotiating with one another. It's been established in negotiations skills training that touching during negotiations is a very strong tool you can use during the negotiation.
When negotiating, sometimes, some men possess a misogynistic attitude towards women. If a woman negotiates too tough, she's considered to be a (fill in the blink); she's too inflexible, too stringent, and too harsh. If a woman negotiates and she's very easy going, she's considered to be too soft, a push-over, not quite ready for 'prime time'. When a woman that is a savvy negotiator negotiates, she uses all of those preconceived notions to her advantage. That's why from a man's perspective, negotiating with a women and not recognizing the inherent negotiations skills training advantages she has can be a very losing proposition.
OK. Now that we know how women are sometimes perceived when negotiating, let's first examine negotiations skills training principles on how a man that wants to be in a winning position should negotiate with a woman and then I'll discuss how women should negotiate with other women.
From a man's perspective, don't treat a woman like a little girl when negotiating. In a negotiation environment, she's not your daughter, nor is she your kid sister. Treat her with the same level of respect and caution that you would treat a man that happens to be a savvy negotiator.
If you've done your background gathering of information (you know from negotiations skills training that you should always gather information about someone before entering into negotiations with them) you will have insight into her character and makeup. If you know her to be a tough negotiator, seek to understand why she possesses that demeanor. Try to establish if she's over compensating, because she's a woman.
Then, determine what it will take to soften her position. By all means, use your negotiations skills training and don't patronize her and don't be ambivalent towards her simply because she's a woman. If you do, you could end up placing yourself in more peril than you ever could imagine. Your condescending ways could bring out the juggernaut in her and then you'd really be in trouble.
When women negotiate with one another, everything being equal (i.e. they like one another, respect each other's position, etc.) they tend to be more civil towards one another. That may have something to do with the absence of testosterone. Women tend to be less aggressive throughout the negotiation and they will tend to ease into the negotiation by taking more time to know and understand one another. What they won't do is sit down and try to hammer out a quick deal that leaves the other person in a less than fair position.
It's already been mentioned in this writing that women are more astutely aware of the subtle nuances that occur during negotiations. When women negotiate with one another the small inclinations that occur in the form of information transference can be very telling. By that I mean, since women are more intuitive, sometimes they can sense the changing position of another woman during the negotiation and not be fearful of adjusting to her demands. That's a trait that all negotiators should seek to acquire, but some men when negotiating with women feel as though they can't give in, because "they can't lose to a woman".
In any environment in which you negotiate, understand the demeanor, background, character, and makeup of your negotiation partner. Also be aware that men and women definitely negotiate with one another in a different manner then they negotiate with members of their same sex. Recognizing this fact and weighing it in your negotiation strategy will place you in a much better position from which to negotiate ... and everything will be right with the world.
The negotiation lessons are...
Men, when negotiating with women, don't place yourself in jeopardy by underestimating a woman's abilities, simply because she's a woman. To do so is foolish. Treat her with the same level of deference you would treat any formidable opponent.
When negotiating with women, observe how they employ more senses when negotiating. Mirror her (i.e. use the same gestures, expressions, and mannerisms) to be in 'sync' with the mood and demeanor she displays. Bonding will occur quicker, which will make for an easier negotiation session.
Recognize and adjust for the fact that women negotiate differently than men. If you adjust your negotiation style to match the person you're negotiating with, there's a higher probability the negotiation will turn out to be more successful.