What do you feel when you hear the word, negotiation? Are you scared, worried, or intimidated? Do you then avoid it when it comes your way?

We are actually negotiating all the time, whether it is in professional or our personal lives. However, oftentimes, negotiation is feared because of its competitive nature– when in reality, it is far opposite from that. Viewing negotiation correctly isn’t all about being competitive or “masculine,” but rather encapsulating the “feminine” skills society seems to shun. We often tell ourselves to practice these masculine skills, but now, it’s time to flip the script and practice the art of feminine negotiation.

Cindy Watson is the founder of Women On Purpose and the creator of the Art of Feminine Negotiation and HERsuasion programs. She is also the founder and managing partner of Watson Palmer Law and served as an attorney specializing in social justice law for 30 years. She is a TEDx and international speaker, Wall Street Journal and USA Today contributor, best-selling and award-winning author, master negotiator, and consultant known for her passion, commitment, and ability to inspire.

In this episode, Cindy talks about the importance of shifting your mindset in negotiation from competitive to fearless and feminine. She also shares her two powerful models, the FEAR Model and 5 W Model that can guarantee and completely change your negotiating game for the better.

What you will learn from this episode: 

  • Understand the importance of shifting away from the mindset that negotiating is competitive
  • Find out if negotiating is more about skill than mindset or the other way around
  • Learn how you can practice feminine negotiation through two promising and life-changing models


Every time you find yourself in a place of judgment, immediately, sort of, stop, drop and reflect and start flipping the script we’ve been telling ourselves.

– Cindy Watson


Valuable Free Resource: 

Topics Covered:

02:18 – How did Cindy get into the business of teaching about negotiation and selling

04:19 – What are the specific problems Cindy helps solve 

05:47 – Cindy talks about what makes feminine negotiation different

07:58 – Is negotiating more about skill than mindset or the other way around?

09:13 – How can you learn the art of feminine negotiation

10:24 – Cindy shares her tips on how you can deal with some of the unconscious biases you may encounter

14:36 – What can you do when you know you are being talked over in the room

17:36 –  Cindy talks about what the FEAR Model is and how it can help you prepare yourself

21:17 – What is the 5 W model and why is it important

25:39 – Does practicing the 5 W Modell take a lot of time?

26:14 – What are the promising effects when you practice these models in your daily personal and work life

27:28 – Cindy shares her personal story on how she applied the art of feminine negotiation in her life.

Key Takeaways:

“Our first and most important negotiation is with ourselves – negotiating our mindset. We negotiate with ourselves every day, in a myriad of ways.” – Cindy Watson

“We’re not going to change, we’re not going to shift and have meaningful, profound, different viewpoints on this until we start recognizing the unconscious gender bias that women still have against other women, and even women against ourselves.” – Cindy Watson

“When we’re able to invite people to show up as the best version of themselves, we often get those better outcomes.” – Cindy Watson

“When we get more intentional, we are going to get better outcomes. Because we tend often in life to suppress stuff, hold it down, and come with a very narrow vision.” – Cindy Watson

“I believe preparation is the single most important element, at least, if not, more valuable than leverage and our skill set as well. But mostly, it’s that preparation piece.” – Cindy Watson

Ways to Connect with Cindy Watson:

Ways to Connect with Sarah E. Brown:


Full Episode Transcript:

Cindy Watson  00:00  

The art of feminine negotiation, ideally, is for both men and women, but women, in particular, to reframe how we’ve defined success and start leaning into that– those so-called, “feminine side” as our secret weapon, as our best way to be able to get best outcomes.

Sarah E. Brown  00:24  

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  00:43  

My guest today is Cindy Watson. She’s the founder of Women On Purpose and creator of the Art of Feminine Negotiation and HERsuasion programs. The founder and managing partner of Watson Palmer Law, she has specialized in social justice law for over 30 years. She has a great TEDx talk, which I commend to you. She’s an award-winning author, a master negotiator, and a consultant known for her passion, commitment, and ability to inspire. As a world-class women’s empowerment coach, Watson has a proven track record of motivating women to negotiate their best life. And she has a new book, which we’re going to be talking about today, called, The Art of Feminine Negotiation: How to Get What You Want From the Boardroom to the Bedroom. Cindy, welcome!

Cindy Watson  01:44  

Oh, thanks, Sarah! It’s so great to be here. I can’t wait for this discussion.

Sarah E. Brown  01:48  

Well, as I told you, in the lead-up to this, anytime we talk about two topics selling or negotiation, I’m all ears because they’re two topics I shy away from primarily because these scare the Jeepers out of me.

Cindy Watson  02:04  

And you are not alone, Sarah! It was one of the things that got me on this mission in the first place. I think so many women shy away from negotiating, even the way they characterize what constitutes a negotiation affects how they show up. So it’s a subject I’m very passionate about.

Sarah E. Brown  02:19  

So give us a bit of a backstory about how you got into this business.

Cindy Watson  02:23  

Yeah, well, it’s interesting. You said in the intro that I have been a social justice attorney for 30 years. And when I first started, like most young lawyers, I was a fresh face, 20-something-year-old, straight out of law school, and specializing in, I started at a practice that dealt with trade union clients predominantly. And I was almost always the only woman in the room, right? The only person on my side of the table, the other side of the table, the adjudicator. And as often happens, I think, to women in business, and I know for your audience as well, those women in the corporate world as they get up the corporate ladder, they often find themselves sort of a little lonely in those meetings. And I looked around and thought, “Hmm, if I’m going to get taken seriously, I better get scrappier.” And so I did! I brought that “take no” prisoner-kind-of-approach to my litigation. And my clients called me, the Barracuda, which they meant as a compliment, and I’m now embarrassed to say I wore it like a badge of honor. But there’s a really high cost that comes from that. And, you were saying about being scared of negotiation. 

I think for women, either who shy away, or women like me who bring that overcompensating energy, there’s a really high cost for both ends of that spectrum. And I had a number of warnings along the way where I thought, “This can’t be. There’s got to be a better way. This can’t be the best way to practice. This can’t be the best way to show up in business.” But finally, I sort of had my epiphany where I recognized, we have defined success based on this very masculine competitive model in our lives, in the business world, and in the professional world. And the irony is the opposite is actually the secret weapon to success. It’s those so-called “feminine traits” that actually get better outcomes, better buy-in, longer lasting agreements. And that’s when I started really getting traction and getting passionate about helping women, in particular, leverage their power more naturally to get those better outcomes.

Sarah E. Brown  04:12  

So exactly what is it that you do? How do your clients find you and what problem do they bring to the table? 

Cindy Watson  04:19  

Yeah, great question! I’d say there’s sort of a variety of problems that come to the table, but all rooted in that same sort of deep-seated conditioning. So if I was at a cocktail party, and somebody said, “What do you do?” I’d say, “I help women leverage their natural power to get what they want in life, to negotiate their best life through what I call, The Art of Feminine Negotiation.” And, as I say, I think women either shy away from asking for what they want. And the reality is, I tend to attract both women, women who have shied away, who are afraid to ask for what they want, who tend to get talked over, and who feel that their voice isn’t heard. Or at the other end of the spectrum, women who feel the only way to get what they want is to really bulldoze their way through. And I think some of them hear about me through TEDx. Some of them are now hearing about me more through my books. I do regular blog posts. I put out a lot of free content. I’m a big believer that “a rising tide lifts all boats”. So I would say that the problem is getting women to push past the limiting beliefs and the conditioning that have kept us small or held us back from being our most powerful and authentic selves, and actually giving practical hands-on tips so that they can negotiate better from both personally and professionally.

Sarah E. Brown  05:34  

So you titled the book, The Art of Feminine Negotiation. Is there something unique about the way women go about this? Or can go about this? I mean, how does it differ from male negotiation? 

Cindy Watson  05:47  

Yeah, and it’s funny you say that because, to be honest there, I really agonized over whether to use the word, “feminine”, because I knew there’d be pushback for a host of reasons. It’s not the least of which is there’s no one way to be a man or a woman or any of the spaces in between. And also recognizing that we’re moving away from gender attribution altogether, and that’s a good thing. But the more I thought about it, I’m like, women have been most detrimentally affected by this conditioning, by these limiting beliefs that keep us small, that keep us with that baggage by the unconscious gender bias that affects us. So we need to call it out at this stage. Hopefully, a decade from now, it’ll be moot. We won’t have to call it, The Art of Feminine Negotiation. And it’s not even so many women vs men, so I’m really glad you asked the question. It’s more those skills or traits that we typically associate as being either feminine or masculine. And again, I think we’re moving away from that. But the reality is there was a study called, the Athena Study. 60,000 people across 60 countries, and with incredible consistency, people tended to attribute certain skills or qualities as being either masculine, feminine, or neutral. So The Art of Feminine Negotiation is getting away from that competitive model, and recognizing that the skills that actually get those best outcomes are rapport building, empathy, really putting yourself in the shoes of the other party, bringing collaboration to the table, listening, like truly listening, being flexible, trusting our intuition, and building trust with the other party. So we have been conditioned to not tap into that, thinking that we won’t be successful, that the only way to succeed is to bring that more aggressive, really assertive approach to the table. So The Art of Feminine Negotiation, ideally, is for both men and women, but women, in particular, to reframe how we’ve defined success, and start leaning into that, those so-called “feminine side”, as our secret weapon, as our best way to be able to get best outcomes.

Sarah E. Brown  07:45  

So you talked about skills, and you also talked about limiting beliefs. If you look at this as skills vs mindset, it’s obviously a combination of the two. But is it more skill than mindset? Or is it more mindset than skill?

Cindy Watson  07:58  

Yeah, I would say it is both and more. I often say our first and most important negotiation is with ourselves– negotiating our mindset. And I love that you’ve asked the question because I see that as a negotiation. We negotiate with ourselves every day, in a myriad of ways. I mean, it’s one of the reasons I think The Art of Feminine Negotiation is so important because all of life is a negotiation, whether we’re negotiating with our kids, with our intimate partners, with service providers, or in business, or those multimillion-dollar deals. They are all a form of negotiation. There’s influence and persuasion, and there’s a process that will get the best outcome. So I think the first and most important part absolutely is that mindset. Overcoming that deep conditioning, about what it means to be successful, what it even means to negotiate, frankly, and what it means to get those best outcomes. And that involves reframing our definitions of success, how we look at conflict, power, instead of power over others– seeing it as power with others, but also definitely skill, and part of my programming is teaching just really simple models that will uplevel your ability to get more.

Sarah E. Brown  09:10  

So how do you go about learning all of this? 

Cindy Watson  09:12  

Well, in the programs- I mean, anybody can do this. I think part of it is just raising your awareness. The fact that we’re having this conversation is an awesome kickstart for your audience who are out there listening. I really invite people to raise awareness about how you define success. How intentional are you when you show up in negotiations in your personal life and your professional life? How do you show up when you’re having a discussion about a potentially difficult subject with your intimate partner?  We always start with what I call, the problems– unpacking unconscious gender bias, unpacking some of that conditioning, those limiting beliefs, unpacking the differential treatment of women and even historically. It’s not that long ago, we not only did not hold property, we were considered property, right? We couldn’t hold credit. We didn’t have the right to vote for a long time. So there’s a lot of generational conditioning that we need to unpack. And then we dig into some of those really simple models that can totally elevate and change how you show up and your ability to get more.

Sarah E. Brown  10:17  

So do you have any tips on dealing with some of those unconscious biases we encounter?

Cindy Watson  10:23  

Yeah, and I would say that awareness is the first piece. I mean, we all think that we’re aware of unconscious gender bias, right? And every time when I give talks, still today, where you would think the awareness is at its highest level, historically, I’ll always start by saying, “How many people in this room think that they’re biased against women?” It doesn’t matter how many people are in the room. One, or maybe two, a tiny sprinkling of people will lift their hands. And I say, “Well, none of you, except these two people, are being honest with themselves.” I think it’s recognizing the power of these unconscious gender biases. 

And one example I’ll give you, there was a stat that was shocking to me. They’ve done various versions of this study where they take young women who are writing their SAT exams, and half the control group is asked to identify their gender and advance of writing the test. They’ll simply check off whether they’re male or female. And over and over again, in different variations of this test, those young women who’ve been asked to identify their gender actually perform more poorly. And that kind of took my breath away when I read that because I realized the extent to which- we talk about being unconscious. 

I think we really need to raise our consciousness, when it actually affects our performance, simply bringing our gender to our attention. There’s a pretty deep-seated problem there. So I think we’d like to point the finger when we talk about bias and talk about biases by men against women. But I really believe, Sarah, we’re not going to change. We’re not going to shift and have meaningful, profound, different viewpoints on this until we start recognizing the unconscious gender bias that women still have against other women and even women against ourselves. The fact that we would underperform, that our choices in life, can actually be determined by these unconscious gender biases. 

And the fact that women are still interrupted and talked over more than men. Even at the US Supreme Court level, US Supreme female justices are talked over. So we really dig in and raise awareness about it. And I think the more we have these discussions, the more that we’ll start to self-reflect on, “Hmm, do I bring biases to the table?” because, again, in studies where they show people a picture of a boardroom table, and the only difference is same people in the picture, but in one picture, it’s a man at the head of the table and the other a woman. And both male and female participants who were asked to describe the person at the head of the table will typically describe the man in very complimentary terms, but describe the woman as controlling or bossy, very derogatory terms. 

So even as women we look at and judge other women harshly, which impacts on how we show up. So I would say that’s the first step in tackling these unconscious biases– raising our awareness about it. Every time you find yourself in a place of judgment, immediately, sort of, stop, drop and reflect and start flipping the script you’ve been telling yourself.

Sarah E. Brown  13:16  

Okay, so I get that. But let’s say that I am in a room. This has happened more than once, by the way. I am well aware I’m being talked over. I’m well aware that what I said just landed flat and is not getting picked up. What can I do?

Sarah E. Brown  13:38  

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 bookachatwithsarahebrown.com. Now back to this informative episode!

Cindy Watson  14:36  

Yeah, great question. And at some point, we’ll circle back and I’m happy to share with your listeners a couple, at least, of the models so that they’ve got some framework for preparing. A big part of it is in the preparation and we can circle back to that, but definitely preparing for who you want to show up as, how you want to show up as, and addressing some of those fears. And again, I’m happy to take your listeners through that. But I would say in that moment, one of the things you can do first is typically build allies. 

So when you’re going into a meeting, have somebody else in that meeting, ideally, and start building this network. So you’ve got somebody who is sympathetic, recognizing that this is an issue. And so when you make the comment and it falls flat. And two minutes or five minutes or a half hour later, a male at the table makes the same comment. And they’re like, “That’s a great idea, Joe!”. Ideally, having somebody who will then go, “Yeah, Joe, thanks for picking up the thread that Sarah already dropped. I just want to come back. Sarah, can you remind us again, what your initial point was on this.” So you’ve got that ally to pick that up. 

Or if you haven’t got that network at that moment, and part of your preparation is developing, you show up with the confidence to be able to say, “Hey, Joe, thanks for picking up that thread that I dropped earlier. If you recall, I was saying boom, boom, boom”, so that you’re calling it out, but not in a way we often get. We either shy away and go, “Oh, it happened again.” Or we get reactive going, “What the heck! I just said that five minutes ago.” And then everybody gets defensive. When we’re able to invite people to show up as the best version of themselves, we often get those better outcomes. Like, “Joe, thanks for amplifying my idea”  is a much nicer way, a much more likely way to be able to get by in on that.

Sarah E. Brown  16:17  

So it’s not accusatory, but it is like a spade, a spade, so to speak.

Cindy Watson  16:21  

Yeah, you call it out. Absolutely call it out. And the same with bullying, frankly, Sarah. Often, they’re more likely to bully women, I find. And when we experienced that, to be able to just take a pause, and be able to say, “You know what, Joe…” I call it inviting them to be the best version of themselves, and I use this often now. It’s like, “You know what, Joe, I know it’s really important to you to treat people with dignity and respect. So I’m not sure what’s going on right now, but we seem to be off track here. I’m sure it’s not your intention to be trying to bully. So let’s just take a step back and get things back on track.” That will get a much better outcome. 

The vast majority of people, unless you’re dealing with somebody who’s got some sociopathic tendencies, the vast majority of people, when you start by saying, “I know it’s important to you to treat people with dignity and respect,” it gives them that moment, then to step into who they can be, or should be, rather than continuing with the bullying behavior.

Sarah E. Brown  17:14 

Mm-hmm. I like that idea to keep in mind– inviting people to be the best version of themselves. Those are my words, maybe not yours. But I get what you’re saying. So you talked about the models and preparing for negotiation. Say a little more about how we as women can think about preparation.

Cindy Watson  17:36  

Yeah, I love that. And I think part of it is we don’t prepare in the areas that I think are the most important. We tend to be more likely to prepare- we’ve got our notes, right? We know the content that we want to put across, but we don’t prepare for that mindset piece. So one simple model that I advocate as the starting point when you’re going to go into any negotiation, I call it, is The No FEAR model. So just think F-E-A-R– Fear, Ego, Attachment, and Reactivity, as part of your preparation process. And this sounds like a lot, but when you start to practice it, it literally is something you can do like boom, boom, boom! It’s a very quick checklist to go through. 

Part of your process should be, “Okay. I’m about to have this discussion about X, Y, Z. What are some of the fears that I’m bringing to the table here”, right? And for women, it can be fear of rejection, fear of getting that “no”, fear of the unknown, fear of success, fear of failure, right? These are all fears we typically bring to the table. So own them, address them, and think about them as part of your preparation process. “Alright, here are some of the fears, and what are some things I can do to flip that script?” And also, equally, if not more important, what are the fears that the other party is bringing to the table? We rarely think about that as part of our preparation. Most bullies are coming from a place of fear at some level, right? Most bulldozers are coming from that place of fear. So really tap into recognizing what are the fears that are driving them? Are they afraid that their status will be reduced? They need to be seen to kill this deal, right? What are some of those fears, and how can I use that to my advantage? 

So going through that fear on both sides and then ego. How does ego show up for me? And a lot of women don’t recognize wanting to be liked is also another form of ego. So even the ones who play nice and believe they’re not bringing ego to the table actually are. So how does ego show up for you? Is it talking too much? Is it not admitting that when we don’t know something, which most people think is going to attack their credibility? It’s actually the opposite. So how does ego show up for me? And in my experience, how does ego show up for the other party or parties I’m dealing with? And how can I feed that? How can I use that ego to actually get some better outcomes? 

The A is attachment, and we all tend to get too attached to certain ideas in a deal. I’ve seen people over the years walk away from deals that were great deals for them because they were too attached to a very narrow focus or alternatively, keep bargaining way past the point where it makes sense because they got so attached to that deal. So recognizing yourself is part of your prep. What are the things I’m likely to be too attached to? And how can I open up my perspective to show up with more flexibility? But also, what is the other side going to be more attached to? 

And the final, the R, is reactivity. What are the triggers that I know set me off that are going to make me reactive, either make me feel small, make me angry, or make me guilty? Whether it makes you shrink or emboldened you, what are the things I’m reactive about? And how can I ground myself with intention so that when one of those triggers hits, I’m able to ground myself in a strong sense of who I want to show up as? And again, what are the triggers that are likely to cause the other party to be reactive? And how can I make sure I avoid those? That’s simple, no FEAR, that’s only one of a number of models. But that simple model will profoundly change the outcomes that you’re able to get in your negotiations.

Sarah E. Brown  21:02  

I can see how that would be the case. So preparation is probably a big part of your process or system or whatever you call the model that you use. Are there other elements of your model that are important to understand?

Cindy Watson  21:17  

Absolutely! And I love that you talked about that being like, sort of, that preparation as the models for how we show up because that is the fundamental way that we’re going to be able to start getting more intentional about how we show up in our negotiations. Because to me, that’s a word I use often. I think when we get more intentional, we are going to get better outcomes. Because we tend often in life, to suppress stuff, hold it down, and come with a very narrow vision. And then things happen that, had we prepared, we could have anticipated, but we don’t. And then we end up constantly in reactive mode, right? 

So another simple model that I’ll share, I call it, The Five W Model. Just think who, what, where, when, why. And ironically, this isn’t rocket science, but I find even really experienced negotiators rarely contemplate this as part of their prep. And I think it’s the secret sauce that makes a difference. 

So just really quickly going through “Who”. Who do I want to be in this negotiation? I advocate people to choose three words that describe who they want to be. There’s no right or wrong answer, right? It can be calm, collected, compelling– whatever it is for you. Maybe it’s brave and courageous, but it doesn’t matter so long as you’re intentional about choosing who you want to show up as. And the big advantage to that is, if you get thrown off your game in a negotiation, if part of your preparation has been deciding who you want to be, you can then just take that moment to breathe, and remind yourself, “Calm, collected and compelling. That’s who I want to be. Alright, then here’s how I’m going to show up.” right? 

So preparation, going back to what you’d said, most people assumed leverage is everything! Whoever has the most so-called “power”, I believe preparation is the single most important element, at least, if not, more valuable than leverage and our skill set as well. But mostly, it’s that preparation piece. So who do you want to be? Who does the other side expect you to show up as? Who are you going to show up as in what role? If you’re a CEO, for example. If you’re one of the C-suite executive women in your organization. It’s not always in your best interest to show up in that role. You may get better outcomes by showing up just being a caring, compassionate co-worker, for example, or showing up in a friend mode. 

So decide with intention who you want to show up as in terms of your qualities. Who do you want to show up for the role that you’re playing? Who does the other side expect you to show up as? Who are they likely to show up as? Anticipate all of the possible versions. We all have different sides of ourselves. So if we anticipate them showing up as being cooperative, but also potentially as a bully, also potentially as combative, we’re going to be much more grounded. 

So “who”– knows the “what” with clarity, right? We normally know as women the substantive, we do that prep, but I find very few people also as part of their prep, consider what process outcomes they want. Sometimes the process is more important than the actual substantive outcome. You might be negotiating about pricing, and getting the process for pricing. You might take a cut in the short term in this negotiation because the agreement on the process will benefit you exponentially long term. 

And finally, relationship outcomes– what are the relationship outcomes that you want? Sometimes the relationship is more important than the thing that you’re negotiating about. So who, what, where, okay? 

In books, the setting is really important. There’s a reason for that. In real estate, location is really important. There’s reason for that yet in our negotiations, we don’t often think about where. Choose where don’t just assume it’s going to be in the boardroom. Maybe this is a conversation that’s better over brunch, taking a spa day or at a firm retreat, or in your personal life. Decide where! Where is going to yield the best results? Where will you be most comfortable? Where will you have access to the information you need or not? 

So who, what, where, when. As kids, we knew intuitively to choose our timing. You didn’t ask your parents for something important if you knew they were in a crappy mood! And yet, we forget it as adults. And finally, the “why”. What’s your deep “why”? What’s the other party’s deep “why”? When we negotiate about money, for example, we often think, “Well, it’s just about the money.” It’s almost never just about the money. It’s what that money represents for you. So who, what, where, when, why, whether personally or professionally, it’s a total game changer!

Sarah E. Brown  25:38  

Does this take a lot of time? 

Cindy Watson  25:39  

It’s really simple. At first, it sounds overwhelming, and I acknowledge that out of the gate. But I’ve got to tell you, as you start practicing this, you don’t even have to sit down for a session, you can do this in a matter of moments. If you know you’re about to walk into the room, just take a couple of minutes for yourself to go through this quick checklist, right? Who do I want to be? Who am I showing up as here? What are the outcomes that matter to me? What’s my deep “why” coming into this? And the only ones you have to plan a little in advance are the “where” and the “when”. But no, it’s a really quick, easy process and it becomes second nature, the more you practice it.

Sarah E. Brown  26:14  

So what surprises do you find that women report when they do these things?

Cindy Watson  26:20  

I would say most women, I think, come to me- most of my clients originally come for the business, for the professional. They want that professional advancement. They want to get higher positions. They want more respect. They want to make more money. And we definitely do that, but I think that piece isn’t surprising to them because that’s what they’re coming for. That’s what they’re hoping and expecting. 

I think the biggest surprise for them is the profound impact this has on their personal lives. They end up with better relationships with their intimate partners, with their friends, with their children, and with day-to-day dealing with suppliers. So all of those personal kinds of things that most people and women, in particular, don’t think of as negotiations at all. I get a lot of pushback. A lot of women are like, “I don’t want to think of my intimate partner relationships as being a negotiation.” And it’s because what the word, negotiation, is so loaded for us. So it’s desensitizing, the jolt behind the word, negotiation, and recognizing how when you show up using these simple models in every area of your life, it can help you negotiate a better life to get better outcomes, even in those personal relationships.

Sarah E. Brown  27:28  

So, Cindy, what should I have asked you that I didn’t that will help my audience understand the art of feminine negotiation? 

Cindy Watson  27:36  

Hmm. Well, you’ve asked great questions. So you’ve really got to the heart of it in a short time. One thing that I guess, maybe, I would share that I think often gets forgotten because we focus on that business. And if I can be very vulnerable with your audience, for a moment, I’ll share a quick personal story just to show you the practical application of this. So early in COVID, my oldest son, my middle child got diagnosed with a very serious mental health issue, and he ended up in the hospital for an extended time. So needless to say, there were all kinds of negotiations about visitation, about access, about getting him the resources, you would expect that. But the thing that I confess, even I dropped the ball on, it was so emotional for me. I was so emotionally invested that I didn’t practice what I preach! And those first few visits went terribly. And then I finally had, there was so much pushback, and he was so angry and resistant. And of course, I was trying. I was defensive, trying to show him why this mattered. And sort of cutting to the chase, I then recognize I’m not practicing my own model. 

So I really sat down and did a quick check-in on my own fears. My fear about what this life looks like for him. Letting go of my ego. This isn’t about me defending myself not being so attached to my view of what his life might look like, and not being reactive. And thinking about his fears, his life shattered before him all of those– his ego, his loss of sense of self. And I showed up at that next visit with him, saying, “I’m so sorry. I have been making this about me. I can’t imagine what this experience is like for you. Talk to me.” And getting curious because curiosity is probably one of the most important skills to develop. And at first, he didn’t trust it, as often happens. And for your listeners, when you try these new skills on, you’re going to have to stay consistent with it because people aren’t going to trust the shift at first. But when I just stayed in that place of curiosity and compassion and made it about him, there was an absolute physical softening in that moment. 

And since we’re now a few years down the road, and our relationship has so profoundly changed for the better, which has helped his healing. And I just, thought it would be beneficial for your audience to hear that personal context because we don’t often think of that as negotiation. And hopefully, that’ll stick with you, so then you can remember to apply it more in your professional lives as well. 

Sarah E. Brown  29:55  

Stories help us do that. So thank you for sharing. So Cindy, where can my listeners find you online?

Cindy Watson  30:03

They can check me out at womenonpurpose.ca, but I would actually send them to ArtOfFeminineNegotiationBook.com. So just ArtOfFeminineNegotiationBook.com because there they can actually get a bunch of free resources. It’s supposed to be just for people who bought the book, but it actually can work well even if you haven’t got the book. It gives you some great checklists, and really introspective questions to start you on the path to becoming your best negotiator to get those best outcomes.

Sarah E. Brown  30:30

And that will be in the show notes. Cindy, thank you so much for being with me today.

Cindy Watson  30:35

Oh, thank you! What a great conversation, great questions, Sarah. Thank you so much!

Sarah E. Brown  30:39

Thanks for listening to the KTS Success Factor Podcast for Women. If you like what you are 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 www.sarahebrown.com. 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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