NegotiationWhen was the last time you negotiated? For your salary, for the new car, for your teenager to actually do her chores. How do you think you did?

Maybe you felt nervous, uncertain. Maybe you “caved” as soon as the salesperson said, “I can’t do any better than that.” After all, you don’t want him to think of you as pushy.

Actress Jennifer Lawrence recently blamed her negotiation skills for a large pay gap between her and her male co-stars. Lawrence is the latest to speak out about the gender pay gap in Hollywood, doing so in an essay for friend, Lena Dunham’s, newsletter.

Lawrence said she failed as a negotiator, “because I gave up early.”

Of course it’s hard to feel sorry for someone who makes millions of dollars. But according to the 2013 numbers examined by Forbes, the pay gap in Hollywood is even worse than that in the “real” world. And whether you make 10 million a year or $20,000, men should not be paid more than women doing the same thing. This much we know.

So how do we get paid more? Unfortunately, we can’t expect to receive equal pay without something changing. Of course, salaries offered to men or women at each level should be the same. But those numbers are often hidden, making it easier for companies to discriminate, even if unknowingly. Lawrence only found out about her gap because of the Sony hack.

In a New York Times opinion piece, author Joanne Lipman writes, “Linda Babcock, an economist at Carnegie Mellon and co-author of the book “Women Don’t Ask,”has found that one reason for the disparity is that men are four times more likely to ask for a raise than women are, and that when women do ask, we ask for 30 percent less. And so women are told we need to lean in, to demand to be paid what we’re worth. It’s excellent advice – except it isn’t enough.”

Her point is that negotiation isn’t enough, that we must expose the gap in pay. As expert negotiators will say, doing your homework, arming yourself with knowledge, is a key part of successfully negotiating. For example, knowing what the car is truly worth will help you decide what to pay. Exposing salary numbers at companies would drastically change rates of pay for women.

But as with most gender equality issues, we must fight on more than one front. On a closer-to-home level, we can step up as negotiators, take time to lean in and ask.

Consider these 5 tips for negotiating for just about anything, and these, from Forbes, for negotiating your salary. What they don’t offer is advice for women who are afraid of not being liked or those who don’t feel confident about their abilities.

As Lawrence said of her negotiation, “I didn’t want to seem ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled.’ At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled.”

So in addition to those tips, here is the most important thing to remember when negotiating:

Negotiation is business. Business isn’t personal. Don’t worry about being liked or perceived as a problem. If you make $5,000 less each year than someone else, after 20 years, that’s $100,000 you missed out on. (Not including future raises.)


Lisa Thomas is the CEO of The P3 Group, Inc. and The P3 Group International, LLC, publisher of The P3 Power Boost Online Magazine, host of The P3 Power Boost Radio Show, and President of the Board of Directors of NetWorth. She is a 20-year veteran in business, executive leadership and performance coaching/consulting. She has worked extensive with corporate call centers, executives and small business enterprises. She’s been a featured columnist and business strategist on Affiliate NPR, WFDD, The Cary News, Fox 8 and numerous NBC affiliate stations.

Lisa is best known for her business and leadership acumen and is widely recognized her ability to develop leaders to be more effective. Lisa is also a sought after keynote speaker on various topics women in leadership face. She generously donates her time and expertise to a number of organizations and worthy causes, including NetWorth, the Business Succession Forum Network, and the Hazel B. Neal Foundation, for which she recently was recognized with the woman of Power, Purpose and Vision award. In her downtime, she can be found practicing yoga, cycling, swimming, reading a good book or spending time with family and friends.

Lisa Thomas
CEO/Sr. Business Strategist
The P3 Group, Inc.

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