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You cannot be nice!

Apr 09, 2018

We are often asked how to react when a negotiation partner crosses the line, be it a visible line or an unspoken one. How do you react when your counterpart goes too far? Do you put an end to it or put up with it?

We asked Bibiana Steinhaus, the only female referee in the highest German soccer league. She prevailed in a male dominated world, negotiating with players and spectators.

She says you cannot be nice: always be polite and respectful, but not nice.

Read the full interview here.

In my experience, visible boundaries are seldom crossed. The known lines are often clear: an insult or a slander would, for example, be against the clear rules of the law.

Unspoken lines are more often crossed. This happens when one negotiation partner believes they have a common understanding of respect and acceptable behavior with the other. Said partner will then make a joke, a comment, or an insinuation, which crosses a line. As women often find themselves to have to determine these lines, we have made it a guiding topic of the I DO IT MY WAY workshop.

Negotiation tip:

  • If your counterpart exceeds a visible boundary - go to the police and report.
  • If your counterpart exceeds an unspoken line, you must immediately point out the boundary.
  • Important: set a consistent boundary: don’t fluctuate between today and tomorrow; between one negotiation partner and another.
  • Only consistently drawn lines are recognized as such.
Exclusive for women: I DO IT MY WAY on October 19 in Munich, on October 25 in Vienna and on October 26 in Zurich.