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Salary Negotiation Doesn’t Have to Be a Confrontation

If thinking about the salary negotiation that follows a job offer makes your stomach flip, maybe you should flip your thinking.
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Seeing the back-and-forth as confrontational could be a disservice to your effectiveness. Research has shown that the most successful negotiations are often the least confrontational ones.

As Kristin Wong recently wrote in Mental Floss, don’t think of your future boss as an adversary — think of him or her as a partner, and you’ll get a lot farther. Wong also cites a 2002 study published in the journal Group Dynamics that revealed that a little schmoozing — such as revealing a small personal detail about yourself, like where you grew up — can lead to better outcomes.

Open With Something Personal

Adam Grant, a LinkedIn Influencer and author of Give and Take, advises actually opening with something personal if the negotiations are over email, because it sends a signal that you’re trustworthy. Then, the negotiating party might be motivated to reply with something personal, too.

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Avoid “TMI”

However, choose the personal fact you reveal wisely — it needs to be unrelated to the raise. Business Insider’s list of things you should never say in a salary negotiation includes some personal comments that will likely fall into the category of “too much information,” and that could hurt you.

For example, don’t reveal this personal tidbit, which is No. 19 on the list: “If I don’t get this salary, my life is going to fall apart.” Salary negotiations are no place for emotional blackmail.

You also should not say you “need” a certain amount because of debt or expenses. Not their problem. Keep the discussion focused on your merit, and you’ll gain professional respect and maybe a little more dough.

Kind of Like a Chill Pill

There may be another important benefit to viewing negotiations like a partnership instead of “you versus them,” John Boitnott writes in Entrepreneur. It may ease anxiety. And if that anxiety is left unchecked, it could hurt your negotiating power. Thinking positively and being confident that you can get a raise can come across in your body language, convincing your potential employer that you are worth the pay boost.

So how do you think positively and walk into a salary negotiation with confidence? Know your worth and come equipped with data so that you aren’t second-guessing yourself. Take PayScale’s free Salary Survey and find out the appropriate range for your skills and experience. Then use our Salary Negotiation Guide to map out your strategy. You’ll on the road to salary-negotiating success.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you had success in salary negotiations by sharing something personal? We want to hear about your experience. Share with our community on Twitter, or leave your comment below.


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