A Day In The Life: Negotiating Relationships

Tanya Tarr, Forbes

Ever wonder what the life of an up-and-coming entrepreneur or a CEO really looks like? Considering a leap to a startup? Or just curious about the day-to-day of someone navigating her way in a different industry? Women@Forbes new ‘Day In the Life’ series gives an insider’s view of what these women do — from their inspirational and behind-the-scenes moments at work to the apps, productivity tips and stress-reducing tricks they can’t live without.

I never thought I would leave the East Coast or Washington, D.C., my hometown. I worked in electoral politics for 15 years, and now work to support nonprofit organizations, so D.C. is the center of my work universe. Seven years after moving to Texas, I’ve found myself back East at least twice or more times a year. I value my friends and have worked hard at cultivating and preserving those relationships. I’ve done the same with my relationships with colleagues in my professional sphere. Every visit to D.C. involves a very packed schedule, because I want to see everyone. Here’s what one of those days looked like on a recent trip home.

7:50am – I step off the metro at Takoma Park to meet a mentor for breakfast. This trip back to D.C. involves about 16 business meetings over the course of a week. I’m in a new place now, working to land business for the nonprofit I work for. It’s a new world for me. I’m hoping to get advice on how to close work. What does that negotiation look like? My mentor’s advice: Listen deeply, and tell the type of stories that draw people in and are relevant.

Photo Courtesy Tanya Tarr.

Photo Courtesy Tanya Tarr.

10:17am – Today’s agenda: 4 business meetings and 3 personal ones. I treat this day of zipping around D.C. like an urban marathon hike. So what’s in my bag to help? Snacks that keep my energy levels up and level. When I’m hungry, my emotions are volatile. That’s not a good place to be in when you’re pitching and negotiating how to help someone solve problems. So I hedge my bets, and carry nutritionally dense snacks that help me be my best creative self.

2:15pm – I’m at my next-to-last work meeting, with an old friend and work colleague. We’re both working on the edges of our field, where traditional tactics meet new technology. Is there space for us to collaborate? Can I help him solve problems for his organization? Through conversation, we’re figuring out if there is a zone of possible collaboration. The previous work relationship opened the door. Now we have to figure out if it’s a match for a project.

Photo Courtesy Tanya Tarr

Photo Courtesy Tanya Tarr

5:30pm – I’m meeting up with a mentee. We stop for a cupcake at a trendy place in Georgetown. She’s in negotiations with a large nonprofit for a very senior position. They’ve been talking for months and there’s a discrepancy on salary. We’re both aware that when women ask for more money in negotiations, there is high risk for negative backlash. Talking it through is helping her feel prepared and confident that she’ll rock it. (Update: she did.)

Photo courtesy Tanya Tarr

Photo courtesy Tanya Tarr

7:35pm – Finally, I’m able to get dinner with friends at their new apartment. The neighborhood they live in has changed  since I’ve lived here. Change can hold an important lesson. Adaptability is necessary in a rapidly changing world, and in collaborative negotiation. The more we observe, listen, and expand options, the more we’re able to succeed in any situation. It’s essential in building win-win solutions, as well as maintaining strong friendships.


This article was written by Tanya Tarr from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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