Negotiating tips from the top

By Daniella Murphy and Lisa Johnson

A panel of five industry power women discussed the art of negotiation during WACL’s Gather event last night. Not wanting to keep all their wisdom to ourselves, here are some of the key takeaways to consider for your next Big Meeting:

Negotiations are conversations, not battles.

Reframe your position, and be careful to use positive language. Your negotiation is more likely to be successful if there’s a win-win outcome. Kate Waters, Founding Partner/ Chief Strategy Officer of NOW, was keen to stress that both parties should come away with something they want — whether that’s financial or otherwise.

Know your worth.

Understand and explain what you can bring to the table. Therese Baggas, Marketing Director at Judopay, explained that if you prove your value – to your boss, your company, your decision maker – you give yourself a much better chance of achieving your goals. To help with this, she recommended keeping track of all your achievements, as they happen. That way, when the time comes, you’ve got tangible evidence of the value you add.


It was cheering to hear that even Roisin Donnelly, former P&G powerhouse and current non-executive director at Bourne Leisure, has to put in the hours before she feels comfortable walking into a negotiation. Prepare for a tough meeting thoroughly by writing down every possible outcome and scenario and nothing should come as a surprise.

Use silence to your advantage.

Catherine Becker (CEO of VCCP Media) and chair Tracy De Groose (Dentsu Aegis Network UK) both credited the disarming power of silence. Women especially might feel the need to fill a lull in conversation with words, but try not to. Listen more than you speak, and if you don’t know the answer just yet: simply ask for more time to reflect.

Pick your moment.

Timing, it seems, is everything. The panel unanimously decided that waiting for the right moment was fundamental in securing a successful negotiation, whether that’s making sure you’re not asking your boss for a payrise in the corridor or waiting until a key project is coming up to pitch your services.

Thanks to WACL for having us. You can check out some of their other events here:


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