Excerpt from “Dare to Ask!”


“Focusing on one clear goal is hard for a good girl.

She’s been programmed to ‘do it all’.”

Sound familiar?

Ever see yourself “programmed to do it all”?  The woman others count on.  The gal for whom no challenge is too big or any detail too small to handle with efficiency and grace?

That’s all good!  But is there a price we pay for this competence?

Even if everybody regards you as a successful woman, do you sometimes secretly think you’ve been conditioned to be Ms. Reliable while others (typically men!) are writing the rules?  Making more money?  Basking in more glory?   Having more fun?

Maybe you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or the Student Council President of your high school, a wife and mother in the suburbs or just starting your career at a non-profit doing social justice work.  It doesn’t matter what your job is, how old you are, whether you’re rich or poor, single or happily coupled—aren’t there moments when you just know that others are getting more than their share of the goodies while what you’re getting is under-appreciated and taken for granted?

If your answer is ‘yes’, than this is the book for you

One of the dirty little (not-so-secret) secrets of our time is that women get less of everything—from money to power to respect to leisure time. Regardless of our qualifications, studies consistently show that women receive less opportunity and reward than men.  It certainly isn’t because we’re intellectually inferior (despite the conventional wisdom throughout the ages).  Nor because we’re victims of a male , although some might disagree.  No, the answer is much, much simpler:


So what’s the solution?  How do we change this situation?


I was inspired to write this book when I realized, while teaching negotiation skills to lawyers, corporate executives and public interest leaders, that women need ­our own personal guide to negotiating.   By natural inclination, the majority of women would prefer not to negotiate.  Indeed, the prospect can seem daunting.  But it isn’t.

There’s no reason to be intimidated.  It’s not brain surgery or rocket science we’re talking about here.  The ‘art’ of negotiating is much simpler than you think.  It comes down to three fundamental parts:

  • We need to be bolder, clearer and creative at defining what we want.
  • We need to be more confident in making requests for what we desire.
  • We need to be more assertive in rejecting excessive demands made of us.

As you become adept at doing these things, you’ll become what I call a ‘Power-Persuader’.  And, as a Power-Persuader, not only will you get more of everything you want but when somebody says “no” to you it will be the beginning of the conversation—not the end!

You’ll be amazed at the rewards you reap once you start negotiating!  I’m so confident that you’ll experience great results, that if you don’t just return this book to us (www.WomenNegotiating.com) and we’ll cheerfully refund your purchase price, no questions asked!


“Okay,” you say, “that makes sense.  But there are lots of books already written about negotiation.  Why one directly addressed to women?  Is there a really any difference between how a woman and a man negotiate?”

We’ll discuss this at length but for right now the 100% certain, undeniable answer is:


When I started teaching people how to negotiate, the need for a guidebook specifically addressed to women didn’t seem necessary. My approach was gender neutral.  I assumed that the basic principles —such things as doing your advance research, framing your demands, asking for what you want, leveraging the give-and-take of bargaining—applied the same to everybody regardless of whether they were male or female.

But as I continued to train people in corporate and institutional and government settings, I saw significant differences between how men and women operate when they negotiate.  I realized that, instead of a gender-less ‘best practices’ approach, it was necessary to develop an approach specifically designed for women.

The reality is that women are at a decided disadvantage when it comes to traditional negotiating.  So I decided it was time to develop an alternative approach, one that builds on the special qualities of women rather than trying to deny them.



A big reason we women don’t negotiate well is because we’re uncomfortable with the process.

We don’t like to call attention to ourselves, we often feel un-deserving or even guilty about what we want.

Research shows that in business groups women wait to get noticed as opposed to men who will speak out.  Many women express opinions reluctantly, some avoid eye contact.  When a man displays his ego, people submit and call him powerful; when a powerful woman displays hers, she’s resented and called the ‘b word’ (name of a female dog)!

So it’s no wonder that researchers consistently note how much women hate to negotiate (one study found that 20 percent of women say they never negotiate at all, 2.5 times more women than men say they feel “a great deal of apprehension” about negotiating).

We make demands reluctantly.

But think of how this restricts our lives: women will pay thousands of dollars more for a car than a man rather than bargain with the salesman, women MBA’s will accept the same job at a lesser starting salary than a man of comparable education because they don’t negotiate; we will tolerate bad situations longer than men before requesting change.

Why is this?

A big reason is the image we have of negotiating.  What comes to mind when you think of ‘negotiation’?  To most people (men or women), the word evokes conflict—visions of raised voices, pounding fists, slamming doors (and, afterwards, for some women even tears).

The gender bias in this model is clear.

Men negotiate ‘better’ than women because the traditional model is weighted in their favor.  Why? Ponder these generalizations in light of your own experiences and see if they provide the answer:

Men don’t have a problem being forceful in conversation.

Men don’t have a problem making outrageous demands.

Men don’t have a problem seeking to intimidate others.

Men don’t have a problem retaliating if they don’t get their way.

Men don’t have a problem going after every last advantage.

Men don’t have a problem being selfish or greedy or narcissistic.

Could we say the same things about ourselves?  Hardly!  Behaving this way would make most women feel ashamed.  And guilty.  And willing to do almost anything to make the other side feel better.

As long as we think of negotiation as an exercise in painful conflict, we’ll continue to get short shrift.

The good news, though, is that we can alter the process. The rules aren’t written in stone.  We can change the paradigm.  Redefine it. Rather than an aggressive ‘winner-take-all’ brawl, what if it were possible to engineer a collaborative process and manage it with a light, subtle, feminine touch?  What if the interactions were not stressful (or considerably less stressful) but enjoyable?  What if the rewards were shared, the results mutually satisfactory?

Wouldn’t that make you feel a lot differently about negotiating?   More comfortable.  More empowered?  You bet it would!

And, even better, the male advantage can disappear within such a collaborative process.  In fact, I’ll go even further and say that in this kind of negotiation, it’s women who have the edge.  Through temperament (and a lifetime of creative social experience), we’re ideally positioned to ‘invisibly’ steer interactions the way we want.

I call shifting the paradigm from competition to collaboration ‘Re-Purposing the Negotiation Experience.’  Throughout the book I’ll show you how to do this and why it works to your advantage as a woman.


Theme #1 in this book is ‘Redefine the Negotiation Experience.’

Theme #2 is ‘Play to your Strengths as a Woman.’

Yes, aspects of your natural femininity put you at a disadvantage in the classic, male-dominated negotiation model.  But when you change the paradigm, the powers of the Female Factor can tip the balance of the scale to your side.

Earlier generations of workplace feminists downplayed the notion that women might have different talents than men. These women were fighting for equality, their mantra was gender agnosticism.  In leveling the playing field, they sought to afford women the competitive opportunity to ‘play like a man.’  The notion that women might possess superior talents wasn’t even mentioned.

Of late, however, a new respect for unique qualities possessed by women is taking hold.  Whether because of nature or nurture, whether the result of two X chromosomes or internalized cultural norms, there is growing recognition by observers that women possess distinctive qualities which positively impact both professional and personal activities.

What are these strengths?

  • Women are adept at collaboration
  • Women are skilled in ‘reading’ emotions
  • Women are highly competent in building compromise

Rather than deny our special qualities or see our female natures as professional liabilities, today women are ready to succeed—as women. There’s no need to camouflage ourselves and adopt a counterfeit male style.

When it comes to negotiating, this needs to be emphasized. As will be discussed throughout the book, these Female Factor talents for collaboration, emotional sensitivity, and compromise are all key negotiating assets.

A key mission in this book is to call attention to how ‘feminine’ strengths give you a solid foundation for negotiating.

The aim of this book is to show you how, as a woman, you can win!


At the end of the day, negotiation is a state of mind.  The focus of the ‘negotiating mind’ is on opportunities, possibilities, and mutually beneficial exchanges.  It is attentive to the present, conscious of the process as it unfolds. A colleague calls this negotiating mind ‘street-wise Zen.’

The skills you’ll learn in this book will empower you but in the end, negotiating has as much to do with an approach to life as it does to tactics and bargaining.

The mind-set starts with INSPIRATION.

One of my goals in writing this book is to inspire women to believe that negotiation can help empower you to get more of all the things you want— time, recognition, money, a better work situation, good relationships, love.  Name it!  The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams,” wrote America’s iconic philosopher Henry David Thoreau, the author of Walden. “Live the life you have imagined.”


You’ll find that it will be easier than you think! When in doubt, power through your uncertainty by repeating “Yes I Can!”

The negotiating mind is self-motivating.

To that end, you’ll find an exercise at the end of each chapter to prepare you for specific opportunities and negotiations.

The techniques and practices presented here will give you more self-assurance to assert yourself.  I can already hear some of you saying “I could never be so bold, not me!” But you can!  Envision yourself winning!  Each success makes the process easier the next time.  Soon you’ll constantly be seeing new possibilities to make ‘unrealistic’ requests— —and be motivated to ask for them.

When it comes to negotiation, there are no rules.  There is no ‘right way.’ There is no final grade.  There is nobody to please (except yourself).  To shamelessly borrow the Nike tag line, “Just Do It!”

The process is easily learned and, with a little practice, quickly mastered.

In this book you’ll learn the fundamentals of negotiating: making actionable demands, managing the collaborative conversation, closing the deal.

Negotiation is a route to PERSONAL EMPOWERMENT.

When things go wrong, Gail Evans writes in her fine book Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman, “Women have tended to live in the complaint, to grumble to our friends and our daughters—but until relatively recently, we haven’t taken action to fix it.  We are often more comfortable remaining with the devil we know, than making a proactive (and therefore potentially risky) change.”

Through negotiation, you’ll stop having to  ‘live in the complaint’ and start getting more of what you want!


We’ve formatted this book for you and your life style.

You’re a very very busy woman.  With lots to do.  You don’t have time to waste!

You’re smart; you ‘get it’ quickly!

Don’t be deceived by the book’s relatively small size.  It is short on purpose, designed as a handbook or, as some have suggested, a field guide to action.  The text is simple so it can be clearly understood.  Tactics and principles are broadly applicable in a variety of situations.

You’ll find Power Tips throughout the book— key ideas in highlighted for quick reference.




How will things change when you become a Negotiator?

Here’s a real world Inspiration to Motivate you.

According to a recent survey by Consumer Reports, ‘When shopping for goods and services over the past six months, 66% of all consumers tried to negotiate for a better deal; 88% of those negotiators scored a better deal at least once.  Men (30%) were more likely to say they bargained ‘always or often’ than women (25%)’.

What are the chances of succeeding?  The results are striking.  As theConsumer Reports study shows, if you ‘dare’ to try the odds are good that you’ll win:

Categores Tried to Negotiation Success:

  • Hotel rates
  • Clothing
  • Cell-phone bills
  • Airline Fares
  • Electronics
  • Credit-card fees

* Source: Consumer Reports National Research Center telephone survey of 1,002 adults,  conducted April-May 2009.

Whether you’re buying (or selling) a house, looking for a better job (or more pay from your present one), a way to get more out of your relationships (family, romantic, professional), having the mind-set, inspiration and motivation of a Negotiator gives you leverage to get more of what you want more of the time!




Imagine you are the world’s greatest negotiator.

You are a genius at spotting opportunities where you can negotiate to get more. You are fearless in engaging others.  You are brilliant at determining what you want. You are shrewd in knowing what the other side will accept. You are patient.  You are charming.

You are a Power-Persuader.

What do you want more of in your life?

1)   ___________________________________________________

2)   ___________________________________________________

3)   ___________________________________________________

4)   ___________________________________________________

5)   ___________________________________________________

6)   ___________________________________________________

7)   ___________________________________________________

8)   ___________________________________________________

9)   ___________________________________________________

10)  __________________________________________________

Now look back at your list and answer the following questions in terms of each of your goals:

What factors determine whether you get what you want?

Which of these factors are in the control of a person?

Who is that person?

Saying directly what it is you want and need can be a challenge.

Again, return to your list and imagine the words you would use to clearly express your demand in a way that the ‘other side’ will understand and be able to act upon:

I want __________________________________________________



You can’t expect the other side to necessarily agree with your point of view.  Instead, they will have their own agenda.  This anticipation of ‘impasse’ and initial rejection often keeps women from asking for what they want.  By anticipating the other side’s reaction and preparing a response in advance, you are more likely to feel empowered to initiate a negotiation.

In response to my request, the other side will likely push-back and say:




Now it’s your turn to make a response to them.  How can you answer their objections? What can you say to persuade them?  What can you offer in exchange for your demand?

My response will be ______________________________________________________



You have now concluded a successful negotiation!


It won’t be this simple in real life but the process will be the same:

  • Define goals
  • Identify the person whom you must persuade
  • Make your proposal
  • Acknowledge the push-back
  • Respond with a winning counter-offer