Hey Stanford. How About Collaborating With Other Smart People and Coming Up With Some More Useful Words to Describe Women's Negotiating Techniques?

Don't be so nice, ladies.  Love, the geniuses at Stanford Business School.  Image from youtube.

Don't be so nice, ladies.  Love, the geniuses at Stanford Business School.  Image from youtube.

Remember when people used to post ads in newspapers for significant others? 

SWF looking for male 5"5 or taller, must be nice, like to laugh, do fun things, meet new people.  555-5555. 

My dad saw an ad like that decades ago and said, "What does that word 'nice' even mean?  How vague.  How are they ever going to find what they're looking for with such a non-specific descriptor?"

I have a similar pet peeve when it comes to "research" coming back to women telling us that we're too nice.  I was watching a youtube video this morning on how to negotiate.  The prof, Margaret Neale, does a segment on perceptions of women negotiators.  She says women often don't negotiate because we're too nice, and then when we do, we come across... and then she squints her eyes like we're supposed to read between the lines... badly. 

WTF do those words mean?  Nice.  Bad.  It's 2016, Stanford.  Come up with something.  I imagine these researchers observing an interview and turning to each other afterwards, saying something like this:

Observer A: "Ohh that was awkward". 

Observer B: "Yeah, she was way too nice."

Observer A: "Let's write up a research paper about this right now."

Your colleagues in the Psychology building have the exact framework you don't even know you're looking for.  Go find a Jungian, sit down for coffee with them.  Talk about specific aspects of the female psyche and how they come out of balance.  If we're negotiating for our salary and we've got a number in mind, and we're not letting go, could that be the animus rearing its head?  Hmm.

And then, if you really want to blow the ceiling off your field, which you do, go talk to someone who knows the Enneagram AND Jung.  Get them to teach you actual technical terms for the different psychic structures.  But we don't even need to get into the types themselves- too much complexity for right now.  Let's just use their framework of the three brains- the head, the heart, and the gut.  Tell your colleagues you want specific vocabulary around what the women are doing wrong.

I'm not totally versed in Jung, but I can get the ball rolling here.  When a woman is negotiating- let's say she's a type nine and she's nervous, she's going to be extra vested in keeping a peaceful feeling inside, which is her default state (like Don Riso and Russ Hudson say, the internal climate Nines like to keep themselves at is like the breezy feeling of riding your bike out on a beautiful day).  So she's got extra work to do in terms of getting in touch with her gut, the centre of action, her libidinal energy, solidity, taking up space as an individual, not as part of a group.  But she's clinging to a position- she wants a specific salary and isn't budging.  If she can't land in her body to show she's serious about taking up that space, it's inevitable that she's going to show some screechy anima, which looks like the unhealthy side of the type three, which guaranteed gets an aversive reaction at home, at work, wherever. 

Neale looks like a gut type to me (just casually observing here) and a lot of women who teach negotiations are gut types (again, from my casual observations).  So basically, they're just doing what they do naturally, and when they're talking to a room full of women about this, they're essentially saying, "Just channel me, ladies" or "Think of a strong woman and channel her" when we all have the capacity, no matter if we're head, heart or gut types, to be grounded in our power; the different personalities just access it and demonstrate it in different ways.    Negotiation teachers are trying to say, "inhabit your gut", but they don't have the vocabulary or psychological framework to guide women there, let alone teach them how to touch into that space on their own. 

But of course, there are the technical aspects to negotiating that need to be outlined, and Neale does a superb job of that in the video.  Just the women part made me cringe for all its vagueness.  Debi, the marketing executive, at 19:16 provides the best, most specific insight. 

This conversation could advance by leaps and bounds if people like Neale borrowed language from a field that already used archetypes for what different personality types or different genders look like when they're healthy and in balance.