Rules to Negotiating
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Rules to Negotiating

If you can’t walk away from a negotiation, then you aren’t negotiating. You’re just working out the terms of your slavery.

Whether you’re in the corporate world, working with a small business or freelancing, the time comes when ambitious workers desire to grow in their industry. Growth can look like a raise, a promotion or change in title. Whatever the desire is, preparation and confidence are key. Here’s how to professionally get what you want without selling yourself short.

1. Prepare your highlight reel

Sometimes you have to remind others exactly what you bring to the table. Keep track of the special projects you’ve developed and work you’ve done for your company that benefited them. For bonus points, mention all of the tasks you’ve handled that may have been beyond your scope of work and pay grade. Going above and beyond is always impressive. Companies keep those they can trust to handle their business.

2. Speak up for yourself

You should always be your own biggest advocate. If you don’t bring up the conversation about what you feel you deserve, whether it be a raise or a change in position, chances are it won’t come up at all. Most people are too busy looking out for themselves to recognize the intrinsic value in others. Make sure you’re the one who remembers your own value and get what you deserve.

3. Timing is everything

Don’t jump the gun with this process. Perfect the art of timing by determining the best opportunity to speak with your higher-ups about new opportunities. Call or email and ask to clear out a small block in their schedule so that you’re sure you have their undivided attention. Also, test out the climate of your company before your big ask. How long have you been working there? Is it “too soon” for this kind of move? Your path absolutely is your own, but doing your research about how raises and promotions typically work in your company may save you some energy or help you build a stronger case.

4. Be Clear about your desires

Once you make it to the big talk with your higher-up, it’s time to really show why what you’re asking for is important to you. Don’t just make it about the increase in salary; most people can guess that a little more money per pay period is a helpful thing. Talk about your accomplishments, how your skills have grown, and how hard you’ve worked to better yourself while with their company.

5. Be direct

Now, while the necessity for more money shouldn’t be your entire selling point, it is an important topic. Your research should show how other’s salaries in similar positions and experience compare to your own. Be bold and don’t be afraid to say, “I feel this is what I deserve.” Don’t just back down at the first sign of a “no” forming. Be prepared to respectfully barter your way through what you want. 

6. Keep it professional

More than anything, remember that this is a professional environment. Keep your personal agenda to yourself. Keep the facts about your skills as they relate to the job at hand and not what you’d like to accomplish at home. Better outcomes will be achieved and you’ll be one step closer to getting what you deserve. Finally, don’t be afraid to walk away. If the discussion doesn’t seem to produce any positive results, consider your options and if you’d be better off professionally elsewhere. Never make threats, just go where you’re watered so you can properly bloom. 

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