The Best Negotiation Tips We Learned at Our Chicago Conference

Our Chicago conference was a day full of inspiration and career advice from women of all different walks of life. A big topic of the day was negotiation—you know, that one word that makes so many of us cringe. A surprising statistic that the audience learned was that only 30% of women are negotiating. Yes, you read that right. 

During our Art of Negotiation panel, presented by LUNA, our speakers discussed the taboo topic both openly and honestly, which is the only way to move that conversation forward. The truth of the matter is that if women aren't freely discussing all things money, then negotiations aren't going to happen and the gender wage gap won't narrow or disappear once and for all. 

Today also happens to be Women's Equality Day, so what better time to dish on money and negotiations? The year might be 2018, but the wage gap is prevalent and on our minds more than ever. Women earn 20% less than men do on average, for doing the same job with the same experience. Learning to negotiate and knowing your worth is the first step in closing the gap in order for women to be paid fairly and equally for their work and services. 

Earlier this year, LUNA launched its 'Your Worth is Worth Negotiating' initiative to kick off the conversation that a lot of us tend to avoid, and the discussion continued during our conversation this past Saturday in CHI-town. Moderated by Maxie McCoy with an introduction by LUNA's Juliana French-Arnold, speakers Zoë Scharf, Reesa Lake, Blake Von D, and Robin Li fed our audience logic and real-talk advice on what it takes to negotiate effectively and confidently. Ahead are some of the biggest takeaways. 

"Know your value, know your worth, and know what you can bring to the table."-Reesa Lake, Partner and Executive Vice President of Digital Brand Architects

Once women are self-aware of their value and worth, they're unstoppable. If you can confidently share your skills, experience, how you've contributed to your company, how you've helped it grow, what you plan on doing next, and more, then you can navigate successfully throughout a negotiation setting. If you don't think that you have what it takes, then that's what is setting you back. 


"If my value was zero, you would not have come to me."-Blake Von D, Attorney & Influencer

Sometimes, you just have to lay down the law with anyone who's trying to offer you less than what you're worth. If they feel that you're worth much less than your value, then why should they attempt to work with you in the first place? 

"Knowing what other people value companies that are similar to yours is very important."- Robin Li,  Vice President of GGV Capital

This can pertain to small business owners, who are looking to market their product or service. On the other hand, this can also work for negotiating a salary and knowing what the standard salary for your field of work.  You won't learn the proper value of what you're bringing to the table until you learn what others in the same area of work are valued as or are bringing home as income. 

“Think about the potential you have to add and remember that you’re offering this person something that is really beneficial to them.”-Zoë Scharf, Co-founder of Greetabl

A negotiation is just as much about the other person than it is about you. Sure, you can know what you're worth, but they may need to be reminded that you're only here to help them. Have some facts ready about why your services will benefit this person and their business and help them grow even further. 

“You have to be willing to hold off and say ‘no’ when you’re negotiating.”-Maxie McCoy, Writer & Public Speaker

A lot of us don't like using the word 'no', and that needs to stop today. Don't let anyone get away with taking advantage of you and your market value. It may be uncomfortable, but be prepared to walk away and reject a deal that doesn't benefit both parties or cater to your own needs. 

"I'm not too expensive, you just can't afford me yet."-Blake Von D, Attorney & Influencer

This was the quote that caused a loud cheer from our audience! In the ultimate #facts moment of the panel, Blake said what a lot of us are thinking but never say to anyone on the other side of the table. It's true. If anyone thinks that you're charging too much when you clearly aren't, then they can't afford you. Point. Blank. Period. 

Are you part of the 30% of women who negotiate? If so, let us know your own tactics for getting the deal you want. If not, what's stopping you?