What Are You Worth?
What happens when you ask women what they are worth?
A while ago, Negotiatress launched an Instagram challenge asking women to post a picture that portrays what they think they are worth. The task is simple: choose any form of value that you bring to the world, write something about it, and post it to Instagram.
The idea behind this is to get women to do something we are often uncomfortable with- openly discussing what we bring to the table.
Needless to say, this is an essential skill in negotiation.
So, what happened when I asked women to show me their worth?
At first, many of the women I spoke to were unsure of what to write. Some were reluctant and felt they were “not good at these things”, or that they didn’t really have anything to write about.
Many expressed a feeling of awkwardness or discomfort at the thought of ‘talking themselves up’.
In short, they struggled to define their worth, and when they could define it- they felt uncomfortable speaking about it out loud.
This I had expected. And I’ve spoken before about what makes us feel this way.
What suprised me though, was how thoughtfully the participants approached this task. Most asked for some time to think it through to make sure they did it just right.
And then, remarkable things came out!
Very few discussed their value in monetary or capital terms. Rather, they coined their value in terms of the service they bring to others, the quality of the relationships they form, or the positive impact they had on the world through their work and actions.
What mattered was the difference they make in the world to their community, friends, and family. They made a difference through creativity, empathy, resilience and attentivity.
Thoughtfulness, responsibility, and braveness emanate from all the posts I received. And each woman “coming out” with her worth inspired others who followed!
“I try to use whatever talents I have to make the
lives of people around me just a little bit better”
Showing our worth where it counts
The disparity between the value we bring with us and our willingness to communicate it is downright tragic.
Imagine modern day leadership genuinely inspired by communal thinking, thoughtfulness, and social responsibility. These would doubtlessly help achieve better results if coupled with the willingness to wield them with confidence.
These traits are also key tools in effective negotiation. But by not openly communicating our worth to our counterparts, we fail to reach our full potential of value in negotiation.
There is no way our counterpart will know what our value is if we ourselves cannot articulate it. And there is no way for us to get what we are worth in terms of compensation or returns, if our worth is so easily disregarded, or we feel it is unbecoming to mention it.
That makes for a bad deal.
It seems the worth we are ready to communicate is different to what society is used to recognise as worth. As mentioned, the terms used in the posts were not about hard cash, interest rates, or net value.
But while learning to talk numbers in negotiation is important, it is hard to overestimate the value of “soft skills” in negotiation. Negotiation is an ongoing, human process, and it requires strong human skills.
They are what make the difference between a mechanical transaction and successful human interaction. And those mentioned here are also proven as effective tools in achieving better outcomes for everybody, not just our selfish selves.
We need to start recognising what we bring to the table.
So what’s the bottom line?
Striking a good deal requires that you communicate your value effectively to the other side. You need to get comfortable with the idea of showing your worth, so you can know what to ask for in return.
This can include soft or hard skills, experience, talents, people you’ve helped, or ideas you’ve had. There are many different ways to create value.
Shedding the feeling that showing your worth is inappropriate is essential. It’s like jumping into a pool: once you push past the awkward, the fun starts.
And one thing all of the challenge-participants had in common was that they ALL felt much better after they voiced their value!
Thank you to every single one of the brave women who’ve already taken part in the challenge. Each post was more inspiring than the next! I welcome you to join in on the fun and take the Negotiatress challenge. It feels great, I promise
See you next post!
Founder of Negotiatress