On 14th November 2018 we launched our first run of our ‘WORTH IT.’ negotiation workshops. This day of 2 hour workshops was developed with React: Acting for Business, and run in collaboration with IoPPN Diversity & Inclusion, and the IoPPN Pay, Recruitment and Promotion working group as part of the ‘Mind the Gap’ campaign to raise awareness of UK Equal Pay at King’s. Following the success of the workshops, a second day was run on 22nd January 2019.
The second round of workshops was enabled by the funding support of Centre for Research Staff Development (as a result of Women of the Wohl winning the King’s Community Fund 2018) and IoPPN Diversity & Inclusion. Demand for places was phenomenal – with all tickets gone within 3 hours and a waiting list running to over a hundred people!
Run by actor-facilitators from React: Acting for Business, the session opened with an improvised performance of a typical career negotiation scenario in academia (described by participants as ‘scarily accurate!’).
– Workshop participant
‘Fantastic interactive workshop – great to see a negotiation happening at various stages.’
Lack of preparation and confidence saw our negotiator demoralised and failing to attain anything they asked for. In response, participants had the opportunity to ‘hot-seat’ the two characters to find out what both parties were feeling after the disaster negotiation meeting. This was an interesting exercise allowing exploration of the different perspectives and pressures on both sides of the table. For example, that the person you’re negotiating with might not be the ‘villain’ you think they are, but instead, a very busy person with many administrative and financial responsibilities across a whole department of research groups! Being aware of this, it becomes much easier to understand how being prepared, confident and succinct when asking for what you want, as opposed to entering with a ‘shopping list’ of vague demands to unpack, is more likely to result in successful negotiation.
‘Interactive, felt like a very safe space. Excellent advice.’– Workshop participant
Participants had opportunity to break out into small groups with React facilitators to discuss challenges that arose in the scene and what the negotiator could do better, as well as pick up practical tips for their own future negotiations. Finally, the session saw us go back in time to re-play the improvised negotiation scene…with the added twist that workshop participants were now in the director’s seat for the forum theatre. It was down to the audience to interrupt and use what they had learned to keep the negotiation on track to success!
‘I would encourage people to go on this course! Very useful to hear tips to also get advice on ongoing negotiations.– Workshop participant
Feedback on the day was extremely positive, and with 84% of participants saying they would ‘definitely’ like to see this taken up as a regular training course, Women of the Wohl is now looking for opportunities to work with King’s to make this a reality.
Photography Credit: Emilia Bieszke