By Kelly Erickson
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Bragging every now and then isn’t a bad thing — or so Lisa Gates tried to tell the women of AWSM during a luncheon at Blanco restaurant.
As AWSM’s group took over the dining room, squished into every possible empty seat, everyone had to take a moment and think of one of their proudest moments, a moment they knew they could do something — anything — and then proceed to brag about it. For more than a few it was uncomfortable, but Gates was there to tell AWSM to shed some modesty.
Gates, who is the co-founder of SheNegotiates.com, spoke at AWSM’s convention to inspire its members to not only brag every once in awhile and feel comfortable doing so, but to brag and network with a purpose.
Prior to lunch, Gates also held a session in which she spoke about how you can increase and display your market value. At the beginning of her session Friday, she noted that if you fail to negotiate your first salary, you stand to leave money on the table in the long run; therefore, it is important to negotiate, but go about it in the right way.
“We have the power within us to change our workplaces and the way the power structure perceives who we are and the value of us,” Gates said.
Gates noted several key steps you should take prior to entering a negotiation, starting with setting an income goal and figuring out how much you’re worth. This entails making a list of all the benefits you provide to your company. Gates emphasized listing your skills and backing up those skills with actual results.
Gates also said it is important to list all the organizations you believe who could use your skills and then get in contact with respected people in your field — which is easier than ever in the age of the Internet — and ask them how they got where they are and how much they’re making.
“On the Internet, you’re not six degrees (away), you’re something like one,” Gates said.
Before long, Gates introduced an exercise in which some audience members participated in a mock interview and salary negotiation. While she guides participants on how to approach certain situations and potential roadblocks, the key was to always ask open-ended questions to keep a potential negotiation moving forward.
Gates listed a couple key steps to keep in mind once a discussion begins, including establishing a connection, keeping a positive frame on any information and being open to making concessions and reciprocating.
Overall, Gates made sure to underline that “everything is negotiable, period. Even if they say it’s not.”