How to get what you want

Posted on February 23rd, 2015 by

Photograph of Charlize Theron

With all the attention on the red carpet at the Oscars, it’s not only a question of who is wearing what; it also begs the question who is earning what?

Charlize Theron has recently been reported as demanding equal pay in Hollywood.  According to the New York Post, after emails were leaked she discovered her male counterpart was earning more for his role in The Huntsman, so she negotiated with Sony Pictures to be paid the same.

Negotiation is the key

Let’s take a look at some negotiation tips that could help Charlize – and you – out.

  • Before you enter a negotiation with all guns blazing, effectively plan your time and efforts. Be aware that the outcome may not involve you “winning” but could be a compromise between you and the other party involved. It is about reaching the best possible conclusion for both sides: and always bear in mind that anything better than “best possible” is, literally, impossible – be realistic. In your planning, know what you want and what you are worth: and balance this with what you are willing to accept.
  • A good negotiator will always look at the bigger picture. This means not just knowing what YOU want, but how this fits in with others around you, and how collaboratively you will all benefit. In the case of Charlize, by stating she wanted the same pay as her male counterpart, she has now set a precedent for other actresses in Hollywood.
  • Don’t immediately reveal your hand. When negotiating, don’t appear desperate to close the deal. Revealing too much, too soon will not work in your favour.
Photograph of Oscar Award Statues
  • Try and maintain control of the negotiation without becoming emotional. Look at your body language, and be aware that how you say something is as important as what you are saying. Do not rush a negotiation, as this may lead you to accept something that you are later unhappy with. Do not run the risk of getting too personal either; and on the flip side do not take anything said to you too personally and get hung up on it. The danger is that you get side tracked and lose focus. If you find yourself in a situation where the other party is becoming too rude or aggressive, then keep in the back of your mind that it is within your right to walk away at any time – but remember not to mistake being assertive, which is fine, for aggression, which is rarely helpful.
  • Following on from body language, don’t be afraid to use silence as a tool. If the other party makes a proposal and you are not happy with it, stay silent or pause for a little while. This will make them aware you are unhappy with what they have just suggested and may well make them feel insecure and pressured to fill the silence. This makes it up to the other party to begin finding a way towards a solution that’s more acceptable to you.

What kind of negotiator are you?

Find out what kind of negotiator you are, and where your strengths lie, by taking our quick quiz.

Let us know how you get on and share your experiences and tips below.

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