Negotiating Secrets of Female CEOs


As numerous studies have shown, most women would rather go shopping naked than engage in any sort of negotiation—whether for a job, a raise or a better deal.

Is asking so painful or embarrassing?

Not any more, thanks to a new book: “A Woman’s Guide to Successful Negotiating” (McGraw Hill), by Lee E. Miller and Jessica Miller, a father-daughter team.

They culled the negotiating secrets of top female CEOs, including Andrea Jung of Avon, Lisa Caputo of Citi, and even a rock star (Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles). Our favorite tips:

Negotiate for someone else. Many women can’t shake off the caretaker instinct, the Millers note—so harness it. Step outside yourself and imagine that you’re advocating on behalf of a dear friend. It can help you stand up for what you deserve.


Beware the empathy trap. Empathy is a terrific negotiating skill; it helps you understand the other side. But it can backfire, the Millers say, if you’re swayed to believe that your goal (a higher salary, say) is less important than what your boss wants (lower overhead). Stay focused on your needs.  


Know your BATNA. Always walk in with a “best alternative to a negotiated agreement” in mind. Example: You really want Job A, and you require salary X. If you can’t agree on that amount, your BATNA might be to accept additional perks—or to go for Job B. Knowing your best alternative gives you an out, so you don’t settle for less than what you want.

Ask for it. What skills help you to get the terms you want?