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  • Writer's pictureDr. Onyeka Abengowe DHA,MBA,CNMT,LGBH,CTC,CBN

How to negotiate like a woman - SMART & HARD

Updated: Jun 17, 2023


According to the Oxford dictionary, "a negotiation is a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement". Investopedia goes even further to describe negotiation as "a strategic discussion that resolves an issue in a way that both parties find acceptable. In a negotiation, each party tries to persuade the other to agree with his or her point of view. By negotiating, all involved parties try to avoid arguing but agree to reach some form of compromise".

Negotiations are part of daily life. Most activities are transactional, with negotiations woven into literally every part of what we do. Whether you realize it or not, you are constantly engaged in negotiations at home, at work, scheduling an appointment, preparing work schedule for your team and obviously, buying a car at the dealership. Knowing what negotiation is, what it is not, and how to position yourself to negotiate successfully is a valuable skill to have. That is why I believe everyone (even children) needs to know how to negotiate to get what they want, without making the other party feel like a loser.


Many people assume that negotiation is all about winning. As a result, they approach negotiations with a must-win mentality which portrays them as aggressive and desperate. Extreme aggressiveness has the opposite effect on the outcome of negotiations. The other party may interpret your aggressive behavior as disrespect, making it difficult for any reasonable conversation to happen between the two parties.

Negotiation is not a winner takes it all process, rather the most successful negotiation transactions are those that result in a win-win. Do not focus on stopping the other party from getting what they want. Focus on getting what you want. You have a better chance of getting what you want if you can find a way to let your opponent get what they want, without giving up what you want.


You often hear people say "You fight like a girl". Sometimes I wonder what they mean, and what kind of girl they are talking about. Women are resilient and know how to achieve anything they put their minds to. When it comes to negotiating power, by societal design, the odds are stacked against women. It is therefore important that women use their God-given attributes of being SMART and PERSISTENT (HARD) as a leverage for successful negotiations.

Here are my SMART and HARD strategies that women (and men too!) can readily use to negotiate successfully, even if you knew nothing about negotiation before now.

Specific - Be specific in stating what you want to get out of a negotiation. Do not beat about the bush. Make it simple to understand. No ambiguity.

Measurable - Be sure to set criteria for measuring what counts as successful. Do not wait to figure it out during the negotiation.

Achievable - Set realistic expectations. If your demands are unrealistic, the other party will think that you are not ready for good-faith negotiation. This can lead to mistrust and set the wrong tone.

Relevant - Stick to the subject matter you are dealing with. Do not try to introduce irrelevant demands that have nothing to do with your negotiation.

Timeline - Set a timeline for rounding up the negotiation. As you move along in the negotiation process, be flexible when needed. Do not insist on a timeline that is clearly impossible.

The SMART strategies are part of the pre-negotiation preparation. These are decisions you make before the start of the negotiation, based on your research to determine what you want, as well as about the other party's interests and negotiation style.

The HARD strategies describe how you handle the actual negotiation process.

Hold onto your negotiating power. Do not give it away by revealing all your cards too early. Put on your poker face and be strategic in giving concessions. You can take charge of the negotiation by offering a concession that means something to the other party, costs you practically nothing and helps position you to get what you want.

Be Assertive, no matter how nervous you are. The key is to stay calm and focused. Be confident, even if you are shaking in your boots!

Be Respectful. Disrespect does not help with building trust. Remember the saying that you get what you give. It is so much easier to command respect if you give it. It is more difficult when you have to demand it.

Be Decisive. Do not linger more than necessary on making decisions. If you prepare well enough, you already know what you want and what is not acceptable. Indecision can give the other party the impression that you are not prepared or do not know what you are doing. It could also cost you dearly if you miss that window of opportunity to close the deal.

In conclusion, the right negotiation strategy is to get the other party to give you what you want and still feel like they won! Do not be short-sighted. Create room for future opportunities. When both sides win, there is likely to be another deal between the parties, or possibly a referral that leads to more deals for you.

These strategies are tried and true and are bound to make a difference in how you handle your next negotiation and the results that follow.

Let me know how they worked out for you.

Got questions about negotiations? Reach out here and I will be happy to answer your questions.


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