Sometimes speaking up for ourselves and what we deserve at work is easier said than done. While previous studies say women don't negotiate as often as men, recent studies counter and suggest that women do in fact negotiate, they just don't get their full ask as often as men. The beautiful thing about life is that there is power in asking for what you want, especially in the workplace.
We talked to a few boss women in career coaching on the art of negotiation and helpful tips to get what you want.
Big Yourself Up and Prime The Pump
If you know you've been killing it and other people are acknowledging your value-add, let your boss know this too! "When you're receiving compliments at work, [it's important] to really accept them so don't shy away and say, 'No big deal.' Really say, 'Thanks for recognizing that. I pride myself on doing this well.' [That way] you are emphasizing the value that you add. So, you've been priming the pump with those two things."
Speak From A Standpoint of Team
Understanding your company culture and language is crucial in stating your case that you understand the vision, direction and business goals for the company, and how you meet or exceed them. Jacqueline recommends using the DISC Profile Assessment which gives insight into how people communicate.
"When you ask for something, whether it's that time off from work or a promotion and some type of adjustment, what you should do in the next instance is use language like 'we' and 'us,' it needs to be communal."
We know that double standards are real, and common language can be particularly helpful for women. "Stanford researchers showed us a few years back that western culture American culture specifically expects women to be communal, and because we have to be communal that is like a two-edged sword," says Jacqueline. "If we come off like 'I-I-I' it will backfire even if we negotiate with a woman."
When it comes to negotiation, Jacqueline lives by the motto L.A.T.T.E – a checklist of five points you should use before you go into a negotiation which she shares in her book, Don't Leave Money On The Table: Negotiation Strategies for Women Leaders in Male-Dominated Industries. It stands for:
Look at the details.
Think about the walkaway point.
Talk it through.
Evaluate the options.
Build With Your Boss
One-on-one meetings with your boss are optimal times to showcase your work and skill set. "You should be having regular one-on-one conversations, meeting with the person they report directly to. Don't wait for your manager to schedule a one-on-one with you. You schedule it with him or her," says Yvette.
Frequent one-on-one meetings with your boss allows them to understand your work value and can place you in a better position to negotiate comfortably. "When you want to talk to your leader, it shouldn't be like, 'OK, now I need to have a conversation about making more money.' You should have already established some type of rapport so that by the time you get to the place where you now want to really negotiate, you have something more to leverage."
Tone and Body Language Is Key
How we carry ourselves is also a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. While it's natural to be nervous in a negotiation meeting, it's important to exude confidence. Show that you deserve a seat at the table through verbal and non-verbal behaviors like sitting up straight, speaking loudly and clearly and eye contact. "If someone comes into my office and they are acting meek, not looking me in my eye and don't sound like they are convinced that they deserve to earn a pay increase, I'm not going to buy it either."
Time Your Negotiation Request Properly
If your company is in crisis mode about budget cuts or operation issues, then it may not be a good time to bring up a promotion request. Instead, set yourself up for a promotion by showing you're a team player and are flexible to changes.
"If you have knowledge that the company is about to go through a transition weather [it is] a lay off or cut back, your leaders are more concerned at that point about putting out the fire," says Yvette. "You really just want to show yourself and adding greater value than your peers when that transition [happens] and how you do that [is] you volunteer to help in some way right help help your leader."
Play It Big With Negotiation Ask
"Every year, you need to ask for something. Ask if you are on track to receive a promotion or what your future looks like at that company. There are so many things you can negotiate for, like maybe you want a flexible work schedule. So, think about your current lifestyle and the position you are in."
While many may typically think of negotiations as financial, Latesha recommends exploring more ways your company can invest in your growth and success.
"Don't just focus on salary, [focus] on the other things and other benefits that you want," says Latesha. "One thing that I think we should all negotiate for [is a] professional development budget - that includes going to conferences [and] letting them pay for membership professional association."
Be Confident In Your Value
Despite the nerves you may be experiencing during a negotiation meeting, it's important to conceal it as best you can. "They (managers) can kind of sense that fear and hesitation and nervousness, they're not going to take you seriously. Speak from a place of, 'Hey, this is how I've added value.'"
Latesha also recommends to stay away from language like "I think." You know what you deserve, say it with your chest!
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Unless you’re a creature of habit who likes to watch the same shows over and over, then prepare to be on a steady diet of reruns. As a result of the Hollywood strike happening now, it is likely that U.S. TV viewers won’t be seeing new scripted content or new seasons of their favorite shows until 2024…and beyond. While it may seem like what is happening in Hollywood is an isolated protest, let me explain why this affects us all and why everyone should be participating.
What Is Happening?
Hollywood is on pause after Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) creatives decided to team up to protest working conditions on set, fair pay & the introduction of AI technology in production. The last time this happened, roughly 60 years ago, industry executives were forced to accommodate the actors’ and writers' demands because they saw each other as collaborators rather than enemies.
Second assistant director and DGA member Meaghan Gillenwater-Stark has worked on a number of box office films and is directly impacted by what’s happening in Hollywood. Meaghan explains to xoNecole that what’s happening right now is bigger than entertainment, “There’s a bigger picture to all of this. There’s so many unions fighting for fair wages who are making their CEOs billionaires!” she says.
Legal Ramifications Of Striking
While these actors and writers are unable to work on any new filming projects, Meaghan says it gets deeper than that, adding that legal stipulations are also involved. For example, if you are a SAG member, you can get kicked out of the union if you’re caught filming with a major studio or streamer at this time. And if you’re not in SAG and are caught working on a project, according to Meaghan, “If SAG was to find out, they can decline your membership in the future.” She continues, “There’s cause and effects. Certain unions have rules and restrictions.”
This is new information to supervising docu-series producer Andrea Harris-Charles. Andrea tells me she’s been learning a lot about Hollywood since the protests. Like most people, Andrea assumed that all cast and crew received royalties on all of their projects, saying, “I had to check myself with my own thoughts and beliefs. These people are hungry and living check to check like we are. It’s all been very eye-opening.”
How Has Hollywood Responded?
Hollywood's upper echelon has already begun to respond to SAG-AFTRA and WGA’s demands. Disney CEO Bog Iger called the strike “disturbing,” saying the industry is still yet to bounce back from COVID. He even went as far as to say that the strikers are “adding to the set of challenges that this business is already facing” and find this all very “disruptive.” The AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) also released a statement saying that SAG-AFTRA members dismissed an offer that included “historic pay.” They fear that the Union has chosen a path that will lead to financial hardship for thousands of people who depend on the industry.
There's Scripted, Then There's Reality TV
Speaking of those thousands of people, actors and writers aren’t the only ones affected by this strike, don’t forget about everyone else who works on set. According to Meaghan, “Think of the people who make up films. The receptionist, makeup artist, etc. Those are the people who fight for fair wages too. Everybody deserves a fair wage. People assume you’re automatically rich [because you work in television or film],” she says. As a result of this pause, you can expect to see a surge of reality TV shows as well as live-streaming content.
A lot of people may not know this, but reality television is operated differently than scripted television. Reality television is not a unionized institution, and the struggles its crew members endure oftentimes reflect that. “The people staffing up in reality [TV] know it’s a struggle out here and are taking advantage. Their attitude is ‘take it or leave it.’ Inflation, cost of living, etc. They know that people are almost desperate for work. People are taking the low rate instead of us banning together.” She adds, “My skill should be met with adequate compensation. Instead, it is an industry sweatshop.”
Power In Solidarity
It’s not just actors and writers, a lot of people are struggling to get by. Andrea tells xoNecole, “Bigger picture-wise, we should all be involved. If they don’t get what they need, then it will get worse for us.” UPS workers have seemed to follow in Hollywood’s footsteps by having their own protests. The workers have been protesting their company’s corporation by fighting for fair wages on behalf of its part-time workers.
What would have been one of the largest strikes in UPS history was averted recently after union leaders decided to offer pay raises for all UPS workers. In other positive news, following the strike, the WGA has already started the process of unionizing shows like MTV’s Ridiculousness. The union believes that the show fairs in comparison to pre-existing comedic shows like America’s Funniest Home Videos, where various comedic writers are involved.
How Will The 2023 Writers Guild Of America Strike Affect Everyone
Well, it’s obvious that nothing is getting filmed until the strike comes to a positive conclusion. What that means for you is that a number of your favorite shows won’t air a new season for quite some time. Shows like P-Valley,Power Book II: Ghost, Stranger Things, and Abbott Elementary, just to name a few. Even the long-running live sketch show SNL has gone dark in honor of the union writers' strike. On a local level, some states, including Georgia, were offering tax incentives for productions filming in their state.
Last year, the film industry brought over $4 billion dollars into the state, but since the strike, some local businesses in Georgia are already beginning to feel the absence of Hollywood in their monthly revenue. And as viewers find alternative things to do and watch, they’re likely to discontinue their streaming platform subscriptions since no new shows will be airing anytime soon.
What Happens Now
We wait. Industry leaders on both sides will constantly be at the table, revising proposals and hoping for the best. Until then, actors, writers, and other scripted crew members alike have an uncertain future ahead. While some may be able to wait out the strike, that’s not the reality for everyone. “A lot of people I know are leaving the industry. A lot of people won’t return, and it will affect us for years to come,” Meaghan shares.
“You have people who took other jobs and found happiness working regular paying jobs with decent hours.” Like many of us, Meaghan was left without a job for a few months during COVID and says she’s more prepared this time. “I’ve already applied for other jobs,” she reveals. There are rumors swirling that the strike will be over in October or maybe even next year, but for Meaghan, “There’s always hearsay. I would like to think they won’t draw it out that long. [So] looking for another source of income is important.”
Once everything settles and needs are met, Andrea is hoping for an even bigger outcome and doesn’t want the protests to stop in Hollywood, “The same fight needs to happen for the unscripted genres as well. Don’t forget about us. We are also fighting. We need allies as well,” she pleads.
How You Can Show Support For The Writers Strike
Honestly, rent is high, the cost of living is increasing, and have you seen the price of chicken in the grocery store lately? It’s a wonder we all aren’t out in the streets protesting in general. “We all need fair pay, overtime, we all need the same things. We all need breaks. I hope we are all able to be allies after this,” Andrea says.
But for now, outside of canceling streaming services and hitting them in the pockets, Meaghan suggests you choose the right form of protest for you. “If you don’t want to watch streaming, then cut it off. If you want to be more vocal, go to where they are striking. Doing the research. There’s not much to do than applying pressure,” she says.
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Feature image by David McNew/Getty Images