How to Craft Win-Win Negotiations with Wet Cement Coach, Erica Boothby
There are huge misconceptions about negotiation. In my experience, those misconceptions can have real consequences on your career—it can impact how much money you make, how confident you are, how well you manage workplace relationships and how quickly you ascend the corporate ladder.
I love teaching negotiation because I’m passionate about empowering others to advocate for themselves, especially women and underrepresented groups who disproportionately miss out on opportunities. Negotiations can positively impact your professional life, but they can also be a tremendous source of stress, so preparation, mindset and approach are critical. My goal is to give people the tools they need to feel confident entering into any negotiation. Given how important negotiation can be in our personal and professional lives, it’s somewhat shocking that most people, even professionals, rarely receive formal negotiations training. But know this—great negotiators aren’t born, they are made; with the proper training, anyone can become a skilled negotiator.
My background is in social psychology, so I really enjoy bringing negotiation psychology to life by exploring the science behind behaviors, influence and decision-making. After all, negotiations are social interactions, so the same skills that make us successful social actors can also make us successful negotiators. Whether you’re deciding what your first offer should be, persuading someone else to align objectives, dealing with an emotional colleague, building a coalition for an upcoming project, or navigating tense group dynamics, thinking deeply about the underlying psychology can crack open powerful insights and provide that extra edge. That’s why our training at Wet Cement goes beyond the basic building blocks of negotiation and provides advanced strategies to help you arrive at mutually beneficial solutions.
Here are the top three most common missteps to avoid as you approach your next negotiation:
1. Don’t think of negotiations as zero sum or win-lose. This mindset leads you to suit up and prepare for battle. Expert negotiators know this is the least effective way to approach your ask because this kind of singular focus doesn’t consider any other perspective but your own. The more valuable alternative is to unlock a win-win mindset so you can work together with the other party to help each other achieve your goals. Of course, looking for win-win solutions doesn’t mean letting your own interests take a back seat; good negotiators know how to strike the right balance between advocating for themselves and helping their counterparts achieve their own objectives.
2. Many individuals don’t dream big enough. Before we even take our seat at the table, oftentimes we’re already negotiating against ourselves—without even realizing it! And so we concede before we need to—we lower our goals and aspirations, and we enter the negotiation with a losing mindset. This is one of the most common pitfalls I see, and it takes significant practice to develop the skills and the toolkit necessary to aim high and succeed.
3. Don’t lose focus on building a relationship with your counterpart. At the end of the day, a negotiation is a social interaction like any other. People will be more receptive to you and your needs if they like and trust you. Therefore, building that relationship foundation and positive rapport early on is absolutely critical. When you prioritize establishing a connection, it becomes a powerful tool that shifts the entire conversation so you and your counterpart leave the table feeling heard, respected and satisfied.
About Erica Boothby
Erica Boothby teaches Negotiations at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also the lead Negotiations Coach at Wet Cement. A social psychologist by training, Erica's research examines decision-making and social influence. She explores the psychological processes underlying people’s (often misguided) beliefs about the impact they have on others in the course of everyday social interactions, including conversations, shared experiences, and acts of kindness.
Erica’s research has been published in top-tier academic journals, such as Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Psychological Science, and in several edited volumes. Her work has also been featured by media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic and Scientific American.
Prior to arriving at The Wharton School, Erica completed her Ph.D. in Social Psychology at Yale University and was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Behavioral Economics and Decision Research Center and the Psychology Department at Cornell University.
To find how Wet Cement’s program can improve your Win-Win Negotiations, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.