How to face your fears and negotiate that pay rise
Negotiation is probably the most important skill you can master to be successful both at work and in your personal life, but it can be stressful and difficult at the best of times.
As I explained at two recent talks I gave to the “Hays Leading Women network” – many people are “avoiders”. Put simply, because they find negotiation so awkward, difficult and uncomfortable they will go to great lengths to either avoid it completely or, will spend as little time doing it as possible.
In addition, this discomfort is often magnified when you are negotiating something for yourself. Studies suggest we are far more confident and successful when negotiating on behalf of others; whether its team members, clients or our employer. However, when we start to negotiate for something that matters personally to us, we often lose confidence and our performance suffers.
For many people, the most personal and challenging negotiations revolve around salary. Discussing pay is the ultimate example of negotiating for something that matters to you and as a result, many people become incredibly nervous and intimidated at the mere thought of talking about their remuneration.
In my book “We Have a Deal: How to negotiate with Intelligence, Flexibility and Power” I elaborate upon our habits and behaviours in a lot more detail and the different ways in which you can overcome these in order to get the outcome that you want.
In this article, I will provide you with a snapshot of how you can execute your salary negotiations whilst managing your nerves and fears:
1. Have a structured approach to your salary conversation
For my coaching clients, I advocate the REAP approach (Research, Establish, Ask and Persevere) as a manageable way to think about preparing for and executing your salary negotiations.
- Research: Make sure you do your research, conduct some industry base lining, compile your contributions and value to the company, understand what might matter to your employer in terms of future success.
- Establish: Establish what really matters to you. Is it the number or is it associated benefits such as flexible hours or working from home?
- Ask: Plan plenty of proposal options in advance, have a clear first choice and ask for this first. Be precise and avoid using a range- they only hear the lower end and you only hear the upper end. Don’t appear apologetic or uncomfortable about what you are asking for.
- Persevere: Don’t accept defeat as soon as you hear a “no”. Suggest your next choice of proposal incorporating different elements of a potential package. Have a strategy to keep the conversation alive either through questions (what changes could I make to help you get closer to my figure?) or requesting a follow up meeting at a designated time to allow you to further evidence your contributions.
2. Recognise you are probably going to feel uncomfortable -and that’s fine
A few nerves may actually enhance your focus and performance. However, if you know that negotiating your salary has a tendency to reduce you to a nervous wreck, take steps in advance to try to manage this. Simple techniques such as taking deep breaths and counting to ten slowly in your head before the meeting can help. You should also practice projecting a more powerful state of mind through your body language.
3. Know that negotiation is not greedy, selfish or unacceptable
It is how things have gotten ‘done’ for generations. If you don’t ask for yourself, who will? Trust your gut instinct which is telling you that you deserve this, and stick to your guns. This will help you stay confident, focused and assertive throughout the meeting.
If you found this blog helpful, you may also enjoy the below:
- Under thirty and think you’re underpaid? It’s time to take action
- 4 ways to successfully negotiate across language barriers
- How to handle aggression during negotiations
- Five lessons I wish I had learnt earlier in my career