welcomematI like nice. I think playing nice and trying to make others around you happy is a good quality.

On the positive side, this translates into a generally positive attitude, some great friends and the ability to enjoy being a team player.

The negative aspect is I can slip into Doormat Mode, if not careful. I don’t mean to say I am meek or spineless by any means. I am an incredibly independent person with strong opinions and the ability to voice them. But as a woman who values “nice” and generally likes to please others, it can be difficult to stand up for myself. And I know I’m not alone. The pressure for women to remain likable while also maintaining confidence, assertiveness and professionalism can be incredibly intense. This has been illustrated recently with the kerfuffle surrounding “leaning in.” While my jury is still out on Sheryl Sandberg’s advice, (I haven’t read it yet. Have you? What do you think?) I have found a resource that I am excited to share.

Slate’s Negotiation Academy is a 10-episode series of podcasts focusing on becoming a competent negotiator. Two journalists, Jill Barshay and Seth Stevenson, discuss what they’ve learned about negotiation from a class on “the art and science of deal-making” they recently took at Columbia Business School.

Each podcast is easily digestible (about 12 minutes long) and features examples, interviews and tips and tricks. Some of the topics include setting the first number, closing the deal and even the ambiance surrounding a successful negotiation. It’s everything I love about Slate podcasts with some tools to sharpen this important life skill. I plan to use these podcasts to continue my process of avoiding becoming the doormat (and opening doors to opportunities instead)!

Photo credit: chrisinplymouth / / CC BY-NC-SA
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