Beth Fisher-Yoshida’s new book is titled New Story, New Power: A Woman’s Guide to Negotiation. Frankly, dare I say this, it’s about time! “The word negotiation can be a trigger for some women,” Fisher-Yoshida writes candidly. “The mention of it and the thought of bargaining for something important can be daunting. Having to engage, maybe with difficult people, can seem to be an insurmountable task, causing some women to shy away, freeze, or wilt during the negotiation; other women come in fired up to be tough, only to leave badgered and frustrated.


Of course, many women do negotiate successfully, and there are probably many moments of success along the way, even if the final result is not completely what was wanted. If negotiating is not all bad news, why do women associate so many negative emotions with the thought and act of negotiating?”

“I began to wonder why there is so much emotion surrounding this word, especially for women. So I began exploring. I read many books, interviewed many women, studied negotiation, taught, directed a masters’ level program in negotiation, developed negotiation workshops, and revised negotiation strategies for organizations. I also became uber sensitive to what I and others around me were doing during negotiations,” she elaborates. “I now think I have a better understanding of what it takes for women to become effective negotiators…To do so, we must want to change our stories about who we are as negotiators.

This book is about the stories we tell ourselves and what we can do to change the stories and become more effective negotiators. While changing one’s story may not seem to lead to better skill as a negotiator, in fact doing so often generates results rather quickly. At times you may feel you are taking two steps forward and one step back, but the approach still produces a forward-moving trajectory. If you are on board to consider this change, you may be asking what story needs to be changed and where these stories come from in the first place.”

I admire Fisher-Yoshida’s willingness to admit the imperfections in others and even herself that sometimes can result in flawed techniques. Someone who is in the position of leadership and business advice that admits their flaws in a manner only adding to the impeccability of their credentials and expertise elevates books like New Story, New Power to even greater heights. It cements their sense of possession, legitimate influence, and empowerment. “Our stories come from many sources, including our family, teachers, community members, religious leaders, and the media (don’t forget the pervasive role media plays in most aspects of our lives) including social media. Almost constant messaging comes to us, directly and indirectly, about how we should be, what we should think and do, and how we should act.


Many of these messages are gender-based, and some of those messages place women at a disadvantage in the realm of negotiation,” Fisher-Yoshida writes. “…Changing our behavior to this new, envisioned future can cause fear. We are putting ourselves into a potentially uncomfortable situation because it is out of the ordinary for us…It behooves us to create…positive interactions when we are negotiating with others to build positive relationships. These experiences are stored as memories in the hippocampus, deep within our brains, and we continue to learn from these memories.”

Cyrus Rhodes