Reclaiming Negotiation: A New Era of Empowerment and Collaboration

Reclaiming Negotiation: A New Era of Empowerment and Collaboration

In a world that often frames negotiation as a battlefield where only the most aggressive survive, it's high time we shift the narrative towards a more inclusive, collaborative, and empowering approach. As the Global CEO of WorldCC and the WorldCC Foundation, I've witnessed firsthand the remarkable impact of diversity in negotiation, particularly the pivotal role women play in transforming negotiation from a confrontational contest into a constructive dialogue. Today, I am thrilled to introduce "Reclaiming Negotiation," a groundbreaking initiative aimed at championing women in this critical field. This initiative is not just a response to outdated perceptions but a bold step towards redefining negotiation for the betterment of all.

The Misconception of Negotiation

Historically, negotiation has been portrayed as a "win-lose" scenario, dominated by tactics that prioritize winning at all costs. This aggressive portrayal not only misrepresents the true essence of negotiation but also inadvertently sidelines a group exceptionally suited for negotiation's true calling—women. The statement by a male negotiation expert referring to women negotiators as a “rare breed” is a stark reminder of the prevalent gender disparity in this field. Yet, this is far from the truth. Women like Christine Lagarde, former Managing Director of the IMF, and Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo, are testament to the exceptional negotiation skills women bring to the table.

Redefining Negotiation: From Conflict to Collaboration

Our mission with "Reclaiming Negotiation" is clear. We seek to transform the perception of negotiation from a battlefield to a collaborative, value-creating process. This paradigm shift is not just about encouraging more women to embrace negotiation; it's about enriching the negotiation landscape with diverse perspectives that foster mutual respect and understanding.

Research consistently shows that women tend to approach negotiation with a focus on openness, transparency, and collaboration. For instance, studies highlighted in the Harvard Business Review and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reveal that women excel in creating environments conducive to open dialogue and finding common ground. These qualities, often undervalued in traditional negotiation settings, are precisely what make women formidable negotiators.

The Strength of Diverse Negotiation Teams

The importance of diversity in negotiation cannot be overstated. Diverse negotiation teams bring a range of perspectives, skills, and approaches to the table, significantly enhancing the problem-solving process. By incorporating a variety of viewpoints, teams can uncover creative solutions that might not be apparent in a more homogenous group. This diversity, especially gender diversity, leads to more balanced and equitable outcomes, benefiting all parties involved.

Empowering Women in Negotiation

Our goal with "Reclaiming Negotiation" is to dismantle the barriers that prevent women from stepping into negotiation roles and to redefine negotiation as a skill that values collaboration over confrontation. We aim to create a supportive environment where women can develop their negotiation skills, build confidence, and recognize their inherent strengths as negotiators.

This initiative is not about diminishing the role of men in negotiation but about enhancing the negotiation field with the rich, diverse insights that women bring. By changing the narrative around negotiation, we encourage both men and women to embrace a more collaborative approach that values long-term relationships over short-term gains.

Call to Action: Join the Movement

"Reclaiming Negotiation" is more than just a campaign; it's a movement towards a more inclusive, equitable, and productive negotiation culture. We invite everyone, regardless of gender, to join us in this endeavor. Together, we can redefine negotiation, making it a tool for building bridges rather than barriers.

As we embark on this journey, let us remember the words of Mary Seymour Howell, a US suffragette whose insights ring true today: “The destiny of the world lies in the hearts and brains of its women. This world cannot travel upward faster than the feet of its women are climbing the path of progress.” It's time for us to reclaim negotiation, not just for the sake of women, but for the betterment of our global community.


Negotiation is an art that thrives on diversity, empathy, and mutual respect. By redefining negotiation to emphasize these values, we open the door to a world where everyone, regardless of gender, can contribute to and benefit from more meaningful and productive negotiations. "Reclaiming Negotiation" is a call to action for all of us to embrace this change, to empower women and, in doing so, enrich the negotiation process for everyone involved. Let us work together to create a negotiation culture that celebrates diversity, encourages collaboration, and fosters innovation for a better future.

Check out our page for more information and resources on this topic, as well as the opportunity to sign up and join our mission.

About the author

Sally Guyer

Sally supports the World Commerce and Contracting global team in the pursuit of both the recognition of and excellence in Commercial and Contract Management. She is an experienced and accomplished commercial and contracts management professional, holding senior commercial positions at a range of corporate and multi-national organizations. After gaining an Honors degree in Law, Sally spent her time in the house in the corporate sector, where she worked globally in the Telecomms and IT industries, before establishing her own legal and commercial consultancy in 2007. Sally is passionate about enabling business efficiency and growth through contracting and commercial excellence; she understands the need for robust business operations to drive these efficiencies, together with the requirement for effective communication and collaboration at all times. Whether in contract development, negotiation, training or general communications, Sally has built a reputation for service excellence and responsiveness. Her focus is on the creation of positive and successful business relationships, constantly striving to ensure that businesses realize their true potential and value.