Negotiate with confidence as a woman leader!  

Overcome stereotypes and internal barriers with expert tips from global negotiation and communication expert, Beth Fisher-Yoshida.  

Beth Fisher-Yoshida, Ph.D., CCS is a global expert and educator in intercultural negotiation and communication. She’s the program director of Columbia University’s Master of Science in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, a negotiation consultant for the United Nations, and the CEO of the consulting agency, Fisher Yoshida International. 

Learn to advocate for yourself, build relationships, and be persistent to achieve your goals in the workplace. Tune in now and secure clients on your own terms! 

What you will learn from this episode:

  • Learn how to break free from gender stereotypes and negotiate with confidence as a woman 
  • Discover the value of research and preparation in negotiations and gain the confidence to negotiate like a pro 
  • Develop the resilience to achieve your negotiation goals and learn how to persist in negotiations and get the results you deserve as a strong and empowered woman negotiator 


We have to understand that our social worlds, the ones we grew up in, shape who we are as people in the world today.

-Beth Fisher-Yoshida


Valuable Free Resource:

Topics Covered:

01:11 – What is Beth’s business all about, what is her target audience, and what is the problem she solves 

01:53 – Beth shares what made her write her book, New Story, New Power: A Woman’s Guide to Negotiation 

03:50 – Beth explains what the stories we tell ourselves that influence our negotiation are 

04:34 – How are our beliefs the same as our stories? 

05:28 – How does pairing influence a pattern in our brain? 

07:39 – Beth tells how these different stories and messages from before until now shape our perspective on negotiation 

10:47- How can you press that delete button on a story that’s limiting you? 

11:50 – Why are women less likely to negotiate compensation than men? 

13:10 – Beth explains what is an anchor in negotiating 

14:58 – Should women go first with an opening anchor or just sit back? 

16:18 – 3 helpful tips on how women can claim their value and power more effectively 

17:23 – The power and influence of roleplay in rehearsing and prepping for your negotiations 

18:14 – Q: what do people do? How do they continue to learn? How do they continue to improve? A: I would say that, in addition to the preparation, it’s really good to have a reflection process so that after you’re negotiating, you sit down and you reflect on what you plan.

Key Takeaways:

“But the deeper your habit, then the more embedded the pattern, the deeper the grooves in your brain.  And so whatever it is that you’ve paired together is strong.” -Beth Fisher-Yoshida 

“You’re pairing effort and a different approach with negotiation to try to create a new, healthier, more constructive pattern.” -Beth Fisher-Yoshida 

“And the helpful stories, you grow them, you build on them and the stories that are not helpful, you either take your “Delete” tab and delete them or you modify them in a way to make them helpful and a strength rather than a weakness.” -Beth Fisher-Yoshida 

“We don’t even know unless we become more aware of what’s influencing us why we do what we do.” -Beth Fisher-Yoshida 

“Prepare in a way that you want to understand who you are going to show up as in that negotiation because different issues, different people, different times, we bring different parts of ourselves more prominently to that.” -Beth Fisher-Yoshida 

Ways to Connect with Beth Fisher-Yoshida:

Ways to Connect with Sarah E. Brown:


Full Episode Transcript:

Beth Fisher-Yoshida  00:00   

Really, really prepare and prepare in a way that you want to understand who you are going to show up as in that negotiation. 

Sarah E. Brown  00:16   

Hello, everyone. Welcome to the KTS Success Factor Podcast for Women, where we talk about the challenges senior female leaders face in being happy and successful at work. I’m your host, Dr. Sarah E. Brown.  

Sarah E. Brown  00:36   

My guest today is Beth Fisher-Yoshida. And she’s just written a new book, New Story, New Power: A Woman’s Guide to Negotiation. And that’s mostly what we’re going to be talking about today. Welcome, Beth! 

Beth Fisher-Yoshida  00:52   

Hi, thank you so much for having me. I’m looking forward to our conversation. 

Sarah E. Brown  00:56   

So am I. This is a very important topic for women. So before we get started and start talking about the book, tell my audience a little bit about your business, your typical clients, and the problem you help them solve. 

Beth Fisher-Yoshida  01:11   

Okay, sure! So I have a couple of different types of audiences because when I’m working in industry, then I do workshops and/or coaching. Sometimes I do a sort of systems design to shift things around. And then I also have what I do with the University, which is teaching classes, and that’s a little bit more of a scholar-practitioner model. Of course, I teach all genders, but I think we’re focusing a lot on women today. And so a large part of my client work is working with women and coaching them on negotiation and being more effective in the workplace. 

Sarah E. Brown  01:46   

Got it. So pivoting a little bit to the book now. Tell me why you wrote it. 

Beth Fisher-Yoshida  01:53   

Sure. So I started to notice patterns in women that I was working with over the years. And for me, I consider myself a scholar-practitioner. So theory and research inform my practice. But I usually notice things in the practice part first, because I’m very active in the field. So I started to notice certain patterns. And that sort of raised my curiosity, and I wanted to understand more about it. So I looked at what the existing research was. And then I also wanted to conduct my own research, interviewing hundreds of women to find out more about not only what their challenges are, but what strategies are they using that help them be effective in what they’re doing. So then I thought, you know because I try to boil things down to their essence, then I felt that there were certain tips and skills I could talk about that could help people, especially women, so that they could have a sense of agency and be in control, kind of, their destiny through the process of negotiation. 

Sarah E. Brown  02:53   

Okay. And when you talk about patterns that you were observing, give me an example of a pattern. So we know what we’re talking about? 

Beth Fisher-Yoshida  03:00   

Sure. So one example would be that a woman might say something to herself in preparation for a negotiation that really takes away her energy or takes away her power. For example, “Oh, I don’t know, if I know this. This person is so intimidating, you know. Do I really have the right to ask for what I’m asking for?” So it casts a little bit of self-doubt. So that was a pattern.  And then I would say, “Well, you know, if you’re already doing that, in your narrative, you’re taking away your energy from that situation, instead of being a little bit more realistic and saying, ‘Well, maybe there are certain things I can ask for? Or maybe it’s the way I ask? Or maybe it’s how do I establish rapport?'” So some of those patterns of self-talk were what was getting in the way of people being more effective in their negotiations. 

Sarah E. Brown  03:47   

And is this what you mean by a story?  

Beth Fisher-Yoshida  03:50   

Yes, so we have lots of different stories that we tell ourselves or that we live by, even if it’s not conscious. And these stories come from multiple sources ever since we’re little children growing up in the social worlds that we’re in– our communities, our education, our families, and so on. And now, of course, today, with so much social media instill in us all of the way we think we should be. Because the responsibility of all of these institutions and systems is to really socialize us to be effective in the world. And so they give us this message about what we should be and how we should do. And those are the stories that we carry, which may not be helpful to us. 

Sarah E. Brown  04:27   

So are they synonymous with beliefs? Or do they differ from beliefs? 

Beth Fisher-Yoshida  04:34   

I think beliefs are part of what the story is. And I think that we believe our stories because we don’t even notice them sometimes unless we spend specific energy focusing on “Gee, what is my story? What are the influences that shape my mindset, and how I think about negotiation?” It’s just a natural part of us. You know, it’s like the fish doesn’t know it’s out of water or in water until it’s out of water. Then it realizes, “Oh, I’m living in the water.” So we don’t even notice these stories. So it’s a deeply embedded set of values and beliefs that we carry with us that we might change once we examine them and figure out what’s helpful or not. 

Sarah E. Brown  05:08   

Okay, so I want to ask you later how we become aware of them. But one of the concepts you talk about in your book that I’d like for you to say a little bit about here is the fact that these stories shape our brains and that men’s and women’s brains are wired a little differently. Can you say a little bit about that, and why this is so important for women? 

Beth Fisher-Yoshida  05:28   

Yes, so part of the brain wiring and part of our socialization process has to do with gender-specific roles, right? So we have all that. Then we have the heavy in theory, which says, neurons that fire together, wire together. So you have this pairing of neurons in our brains that shoot off and sort of tell us to do different things in which behavior and how to understand other people’s behavior and so on, which happens in nanoseconds. Right? So we’re not aware of all that. But the deeper your habit, then the more embedded the pattern, and the deeper the grooves in your brain. And so whatever it is that you’ve paired together is strong. So for example, if you pair fear or intimidation with negotiation, then every time you hear the word negotiation, or you have to prepare for a negotiation, it’s going to trigger that fear and trepidation. Whereas instead, if you say, “Well, you know, let me just assert my kind of agency in here, and let me see what I can do. And let me reshape how I enter into a negotiation.” Now you’re pairing effort, and a different approach with negotiation to try to create a new, healthier, more constructive pattern. 

Sarah E. Brown  06:40   

Okay, and this differs from men?  

Beth Fisher-Yoshida  06:43   

They create their own patterns, right? So they have their own embedded belief systems and values that were nurtured in them from when they were younger. Now, of course, I’m over-generalizing, but that doesn’t mean every man thinks the same way, every woman thinks the same way. But in general, if we want to have larger generalizations, we have to understand that our social worlds, the ones we grew up in, shape who we are as people in the world today. 

Sarah E. Brown  07:07   

Okay, I got it. So the reason that it differs is not that our brains are different, but because the stories that go into getting these neurons to fire together are different. 

Beth Fisher-Yoshida  07:17   

Right. Now, a brain scientist may say that our brains are a little bit different. I’m not going to get into all that, because that’s not my area of specialization, but I do know that it’s the stories that create these patterns. And that’s the place I focus on because that’s the place where we can make a difference.  

Sarah E. Brown  7:32   

Okay, well, that’s a good segue to how do we become aware of what these stories are. 

Beth Fisher-Yoshida  07:39   

So one example is in the book, I do go through a couple of different models and tools, and I take people through some case studies to show how you can use them. I use this in my coaching. I use them in my workshops, and in the classes, I teach, as well. And what happens is that we have so many stories in our head, right, and so many different situations? We need to deconstruct or unpack them to understand where these different influences come from. So one example is you start to identify– okay, who are the significant people in my life, right? Who, anywhere from a teacher from elementary school to maybe a professor in a university, and maybe somebody in the workplace, what are the messages I got from them? What did I learn from them about what to do or not do in a negotiation setting? So for example, somebody may have a message like, “Yeah, go out there and get it. You deserve it”, or somebody says, “You know, the world’s a tough place. You can try it, but it’s not fair.” All of these different messages shape how we enter into negotiation. So it’s people, its events, its places we’ve been to– any kind of experiences. So at any point in time, you can sit there and try to identify what these different influences are, what the messages are, and how they shape how you negotiate. If I do something today, and I do something tomorrow, it may vary a little bit, because different things are happening in my life at the time that surfaces certain stories over others. So then after you go through some exercises, and I say it’s an iterative process, you do this like its life work because you’re developing your self-awareness. You start to identify these influences. You see the ways in which they shape how you’re doing your negotiations, and how you enter into them. And then you have to figure out okay, what’s helpful, what is helping me advance my agenda, what is helping me advance my career, my skills, and so on, and what is not. And the stories that are helpful, you grow them, you build on them and the stories that are not helpful, you either, you know, take your “Delete” tab and delete them or you modify them in a way to make them helpful and a strength rather than a weakness. 

Sarah E. Brown  09:38   

Hi, this is Sarah Brown, again, the host of the KTS Success Factor Podcast for Women. I hope you are enjoying this episode, and gaining some tips and inspiration on how you can be happier, more successful, and experience less stress at work. If you would like to learn more about how you can empower the women in your organization to do the same, simply click on the show notes to see how you can connect with me. As an added bonus for my podcast guests, you will see how you can book 30 minutes with me to explore how you can implement a scalable self-coaching program for the women in your organization. Simply visit Now back to this informative episode.  

Sarah E. Brown  10:40   

So can you give me an example of how somebody might hit the “delete” button on a story? 

Beth Fisher-Yoshida  10:47   

Right? So if I am going into a negotiation, and you know, people always ask me about salary negotiations. So I said, “Okay.” Yeah, if you’re going in for salary negotiation, I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is they only think about a number. They think about the monetary compensation for a job. And I have to say, “You know what, there’s so much more especially in today’s world where there’s so much more flexibility in how we do our work in some places, right?” So you have to think in a bigger context about compensation. So the “delete” button would be only thinking about the money and thinking about what else makes me happy. What else gives me energy, what else? How else can I identify being valued and compensated, and then maybe it’s flex time? Maybe it’s working remotely sometime? Maybe it’s tuition reimbursement, or professional development– lots of different ways of being compensated for your work. 

Sarah E. Brown  11:39   

Okay. So why is it that women are less likely to negotiate compensation regardless of how they define it, effectively than men? 

Beth Fisher-Yoshida  11:49   

I think part of the messaging is because women are taught that we are nurturers. We’re caretakers. We want to be liked. And we value that more, even if it’s unconscious than we do dominate confidence and competence and all of that. So we have that. So that means if you’re in a situation with somebody, and you want them to like you because you’re in a workplace, and you’ve had that story in your head, you’re not going to want to ruffle feathers because it’s going to go against what you’ve been taught. So then you may actually be a “hard” negotiator. You demand certain things, you get it, but then you feel really bad afterward, because you’ve offended somebody you think, or maybe you’re not liked, and maybe you’re considered tough or something. So there are these contradictory messages in our heads. And I think that’s what gets in the way. And, you know, some junior women I know even said, it’s a little bit of a cliche, but they said, “I didn’t even know I could negotiate that. I didn’t even know I could ask that.” And then when they find out afterward that they could, they’re thinking, “Why didn’t I ask her that? Why didn’t I think?” So, we don’t even know unless we become more aware of what’s influencing us and why we do what we do. 

Sarah E. Brown  12:57   

Okay, so another concept you have in your book is the concept of an anchor in negotiating. Would you tell my audience a little bit about what that is, and how women can use it more effectively, themselves? 

Beth Fisher-Yoshida  13:10   

Sure. So an anchor is the first offer, the first comment, the first idea, the first piece of information that gets played out there. And typically, what happens is somebody places an anchor. They say, “Make the first move in the negotiation, for better or worse”, and then the next person has to respond to the anchor. So they’re already setting the perimeters of where they want you to be in that negotiation. So you have a choice of either responding to that anchor, or not responding to the anchor and making your own anchor, right? So it’s a little bit of a power dynamic as well, sometimes, because, let’s say, the other person makes an anchor, and I don’t necessarily agree with that anchor, I might respond to that anchor and then shift the conversation, this will take more skill, right, shift the conversation to where I want it to be, right? So if somebody says X, and I say, “Well, you know, here’s some things about X, but let’s also look at Y” and then I’m shifting to over there. If I don’t respond to that anchor, then I do something else. I might be having a parallel monologue. And that’s not really a negotiation. There isn’t, you know, there’s different research and stories about whether it’s better to place the anchor or not first, because sometimes people say, “Well, what’s your number? What’s your thing, you know?” And then you may say it, or you may say, “Well, let’s get some more information first”, so you’re shifting away. So there are advantages and disadvantages to being first with an anchor or responding to an anchor.  

Sarah E. Brown  14:39   

Okay, well, let’s go back to the conversation around compensation because that seems to be top of mind right now with most of my clients. Do you think it’s better for women to go in with an anchor, an opening gambit, so to speak, or do you think it’s better for them to sit back and explore? 

Beth Fisher-Yoshida  14:58   

Personally, I would want to explore a little bit by asking for information about you know, “Tell me more about the compensation package”, for example, and get information. And you know, because you’ve done your preparation, there are certain things that you want to hear. You want to hear about professional development. You want to hear about career advancement. You want to hear about mentoring opportunities. And so if you’re not hearing that, then you can say, “Oh, gee, what about blah, blah, blah”, and you just sort of, then, ask for that information because you’ve done your preparation. Too often people go in and they’ll say, “Well, what are you looking for in a salary?” And you say, “Well, I’m looking for X amount of dollars?” “Sorry, that’s not in our budget.” Now, what did you do? You shut down the conversation because you’ve limited yourself to a number. So I wouldn’t give a number, I would ask more about the compensation package. And then they may throw it back at me and say, “What are you looking for?” And I say, “Well, you know-” not a specific number, but I say, “Well, I’m looking for career advancement. I’m looking to develop myself. I am career oriented”, or “I’m looking for professional development opportunities.” So again, not specifying, but just giving the broader category, which gives both of us room to play in. 

Sarah E. Brown  16:02   

Okay, I get it. Keeps it as a dialogue. 

Beth Fisher-Yoshida  16:05   

Exactly, which I think is what a negotiation could be. 

Sarah E. Brown  16:09   

In general, do you have tips for women about how they can claim their value and their power more effectively?  

Beth Fisher-Yoshida  16:18   

Yes. So, one would be to really, really prepare and prepare in a way that you want to understand who you are going to show up as in that negotiation because different issues, different people different times, we bring different parts of ourselves more prominently to that. So figure that out first, and your preparation. Figure out what you think is really important to the person you’re negotiating with and see how you can come to some common ground and agreements there. And the third tip would be to think about different possible scenarios, and different directions it could take, so that if it goes down that road, you don’t get startled and shocked into a silence that you have some kind of response, even if it means asking an opening question to buy more time for you to regain your composure if you’re thrown off. So those are three tips I would give to people in preparing for a negotiation. 

Sarah E. Brown  17:11   

I get the prepare-prepare-prepare thing. It’s something I advocate for my clients. In fact, I suggest that they rehearse. You know, that kind of roleplay with others. And I wonder if you have an opinion on that? 

Beth Fisher-Yoshida  17:23   

Absolutely! So when I’m coaching clients, it’s always interesting to me that we think we are communicating in a way that doesn’t really happen, right? So we think we’re saying things. We think we’re having an impact, but then when we actually roleplay it and actually use the words that we’re going to say, and then we get a reaction from me or somebody else in that roleplay, we see how it lands. And it’s sometimes different from what we have imagined in our heads. So I’ll say, “Well, did you communicate?” “Yeah. I communicated.” “Okay, then what did you actually say?” And then they’ll tell me what they said. And I said, “Okay, if I was this person, here’s how I might have understood what you said”, which is different from what they thought they said, right? So the intention and the impact are not always aligned and role plays are great ways of aligning intent and impact. 

Sarah E. Brown  18:09   

Beth, what question should I have asked you that I didn’t? 

Beth Fisher-Yoshida  18:14   

Oh, boy, let’s see! So I guess a question would be, like, what do people do? How do they continue to learn? How do they continue to improve? And I would say that, in addition to the preparation, it’s really good to have a reflection process so that after you’re negotiating, you sit down and you reflect on, what did you plan? How did it go? Did you meet your goals? What were the outcomes, and what’s next? Because one of the things I do talk about in my book, and in my practice, is post-negotiation follow-up. There’s so much information that gets exchanged during the course of a negotiation. When you walk away, there’s no guarantee that you and the other party actually walk away with the same shared understanding. So you want to follow up. So the reflection is not to berate yourself, but to commend yourself that you showed up and that you made an effort, and then what else can you do better even the next time to deepen the learning? 

Sarah E. Brown  19:09   

Very good tip. Very good! Beth, thank you so much for being with me today. 

Beth Fisher-Yoshida  19:14   

Thank you! I really appreciated our conversation.  

Sarah E. Brown  19:16   

And for all of you listening, I commend the book, New Story, New Power: A Woman’s Guide to Negotiation. I’ve read it, and it’s actually very good. Thanks again! 

Beth Fisher-Yoshida  19:28   

Thank you so much. Goodbye now. 

Sarah E. Brown  19:30   

Thanks for listening to the KTS Success Factor Podcast for Women. If you like what you’re hearing, please go to iTunes to subscribe, rate us, and leave a review. And if you would like more information on how we can help women in your organization to thrive, then go to You can sign up for our newsletter, read show notes and learn more about our podcast guests, read my blog, browse through the books, or contact us for a chat. Goodbye for now. 

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