Be a Good Date: Get What You Want or Get Out

Four Principles that apply to dating, networking, and negotiations: Part 3 of 4

Featured Columnist: Lauren Perkins

Here we are — the third of four blog posts tying dating, networking, and negotiating into a single thread. We’ve already covered primping and preparation, being a good date, and now it’s time to dive into the good stuff — how to get what you want.

At a networking event, it’s equally important to stay focused and make sure you are getting what you need. Even if you’re having a great conversation and are interested in working with someone you don’t want to spend too much time with one person. The more people you meet, the better chance you have at acquiring business. Think of it as speed dating! You want to handle these situations with great care because you never want to leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth about you or your company.

Get what you want (or, the “Art of the Ask”):

  • Find a connection — This can be a personal interest, a professional objective, or even a mutual contact. Through your appreciative inquiry and awesome active listening, you should be able to find common ground in multiple areas.
  • Close the deal — Making the connection is the first part of building a professional relationship. After you’ve established the connection, explore the next best way to continue the conversation, whether it’s sending some relevant information, introducing them to a colleague, or meeting for a follow-up conversation.
  • Make an impression — Most people will not remember your name. They will also likely forget the name of your company but they will remember if you make a great joke, show genuine interest, or share a unique story about your work.

If the conversation went well and you’ve gotten their number (or business car), you may proceed to making the next move and follow up with an email, text or call to make a date and move the relationship forward.

If you’re looking to get something out of negotiation, particularly salary negotiations, then congratulations — you are already ahead because most women simply don’t ask for this kind of conversation. We will dive into what that means for the economy, the long-term gender wage gap, and women in positions of leadership later (like at the #WinSummit17!), but for now we’ll focus on how to sway a negotiation in your favor.

Get what you want:

  • Know what you want — develop a budget, as well as a qualitative list of needs and wants. Go through the numbers and develop scenarios so that you understand the trade-offs and economic implications of your needs vs. desires so that you can re-prioritize as necessary.
  • Practice asking for what you want — Seriously, practice makes perfect. Say what you want out loud in front of a mirror, to your pet, with your best friend, and on the subway. Get comfortable knowing and naming what you want.
  • Know your limits — This goes back to doing your homework that we covered in Blog 1. When going into a negotiation, have in mind your target price (the ideal scenario that covers your needs) and your reservation price (the terms at which it’s better for you to walk away than to accept the offer. Anything in between those parameters should be reasonably acceptable terms.
  • Be appropriately aggressive with an anchor — If you’re providing the starting terms, you have the opportunity to set the bar for the conversation with an “anchor.” That first offer will have significant influence on the direction of the conversation and final terms (so again, make sure you’ve done your homework!). Starting your offer higher than you intend to end allows room to make smaller concessions through the conversation, and is more likely to land closer to terms that are still favorable to you.

With a few sexier modifications we can apply these same principles to getting what you want out of dating (and in bed!). Next time you and a date are making plans (in public or in private), go in with a game plan of what you hope to get and what you’re willing to give up. Be ready to compromise in the right places to really be a great partner and get a little something for yourself too.

Basically, it all comes down to knowing yourself, your needs and wants, and what you’re willing to make compromises on. Plus, your assertive and confident self can play out well in the boardroom and the bedroom.

So now you are fully prepped to go into your next networking night and negotiation round with the right preparation, attitude, and actions to succeed. In my next post I’ll share how to best fo wrap up the morning after so that you can continue being a bad-ass professional and communication queen.

Lauren Perkins is a Brand Marketer, Community Builder, and Author of The Community Manager’s Playbook: How to Build Brand Awareness and Customer Engagement (Apress, 2015). As the founder & CEO of Perks Consulting, Lauren has spent a decade teaching growth stage companies to “Think like Brand. Act like a Startup.™” through her expertise in leading brand marketing and digital innovation. With a genuine love for helping and teaching people, she is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Columbia Business School and a founding instructor at General Assembly teaching digital insights, brand strategy, community management and agile marketing.

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