NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Samantha Miller, an undergraduate business major at the University of Florida, was listening to a lecture on negotiation and how women are bad at it. That didn’t ring true for Miller, who has always asked for what she felt she deserved and believes other young women of her generation do, too. So, Miller, along with associate professor Yellowlees Douglas, set out to see whether or not she was correct.
For their study, 25 MBA students were asked how much money they would get on a Starbucks card for participating in the survey. The results showed that, on average, the women asked for twice as much as did the men. The researchers surmised that earlier research showed men as better negotiators than women, because they were more likely to have held high-paying jobs and to have had successful negotiation experiences on which to draw. However, the workforce has changed, and Miller views this study's results as “very telling of a new generation of empowered women.”
A recent meta analysis of 51 studies on gender differences in negotiations suggests that context counts. The studies spanned several countries, including the United States and China, and included 4,656 women and 6,232 men who were business professionals and graduate and undergraduate students. The results suggest that when women negotiated on behalf of someone else or when they were aware of the bargaining range, they were better than men at negotiating. And, like the University of Florida study showed, when women had experience in negotiating, they were also better negotiators than were the men.
Which is perhaps, why, when asked about negotiations, Apryl DeLancey, president and CEO of Social Age Media, responded, "Put it this way -- the last time we bought a car, the salesperson told his manager that it was easier to try to negotiate him down than me.”
Davina Douthard, CEO of Davina Douthard, also believes she is a strong negotiator. Douthard says to “know your worth.”
“You can’t ask top dollar for something that the market will not support," Douthard says. "But, you can get top dollar for something that the general marketing will not support, but that which holds higher value to the person or organization who wants and needs it badly and is willing to pay for it.”
Douthard also advises not being the first one to speak when it comes to money and to ask for what you want. She also says not to be desperate.
“In any negotiation, whether business or personal, you have to be willing to walk away from it," she says. "Displaying desperation is a sure sign of weakness and the competitor will see your weakness and use it to their advantage...If someone wanted what you have, someone else will, too.”
--Written by S.Z. Berg for MainStreet