It’s totally understandable to feel a little nervous about negotiating salary, but you can’t let your nerves keep you from asking for what you deserve. Remember, when you negotiate a higher salary, you benefit from that increase not just for one year, but for the rest of your career. Over time, asking for more can boost your earnings by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
That said, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about having the conversation. One of the reasons it’s so important to prepare for salary discussions is so that you don’t say the wrong thing and compromise your chances. For example, you’ll want to avoid any of the following, when you’re assembling your salary negotiation script:
Salary negotiations are not the time to attempt to play on others’ sympathies. The goal here is fair compensation; you’re not looking for a personal favor. Don’t talk about how much money you need to pay your bills, live your life, or even to do your job adequately. Instead, focus on helping the people you’re meeting with understand your true value and what you rightly deserve in terms of compensation.
- “I could walk away, no problem.”
It’s important to remember that salary negotiations are different than other kinds of negotiations. You’re not buying a car here. If your employer starts to wonder about your dedication and commitment to the job, that won’t do anything to help you professionally. You care about receiving a fair salary, and you also care about your work and the company. These things should not be presented as mutually exclusive.
During your conversation, it’s important to be confident and to project that confidence. Be mindful of language, toward this end. And, also be aware of body language. Be sure to sit tall and make eye contact during the meeting.
- “I’d like to get this worked out as soon as possible.”
Although you may be feeling anxious to get through this conversation as quickly as you can, revealing that impulse won’t do you any favors. Demonstrate instead that getting the compensation you deserve is a high priority, and that you are fully engaged and present for this conversation. Don’t look at your watch, phone, or at a clock. Settle into your chair and show how much this matter means to you.
- “This job is so exciting to me!”
You don’t want to act like you could easily walk away from your position, but you don’t want to go too far in the opposite direction either. It’s wonderful to be passionate and enthusiastic about your work, but salary negotiations might not be the best time to go on and on about it. Remember that you working at this job is a mutually beneficial arrangement. You don’t have to fall all over yourself showing your gratitude. It could make them think you’ll be willing to work for less.
- “I just want to talk about salary.”
Don’t forget to talk about benefits during your salary negotiation. Focusing on other aspects of your compensation in addition to your salary could help you gain leverage. Consider all aspects of your compensation in advance. This conversation is something you want to be fully prepared for. You may even want to think about trying to monetize the perks, so that you can negotiate with the them accordingly. Remember, there is more to compensation that just salary. Consider the bigger picture and know what you want in advance.
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