What is Your Negotiation Strategy?

Whether it is a discussion about bed times with our children or a request for a raise, we are constantly put in a position of negotiation. Although it may seem that family negotiations are different from those at work; there are some similarities and we should examine. At the very least, you should have a strategy.

If you approach a situation that will require some give and take, discussion or compromise you will need a plan. Even the very basic bed time discussion takes a little finesse. You have to know your audience. You’ll have a different discussion with a three year old than your pre-teen. How you approach the situation will have an impact on the outcome.

The same is true in business. Whether you are negotiating a raise or the ability to cross train or lead a new project, you will need to do your homework in advance.

In an article from Creative Sourcing entitled 6 Essential Tips – How to Ask for a Raise and Get It! the first step is to do your research:

Do a Little Research

The first step in preparing for this important conversation is to do a little research on the company’s current financial position. Is the company in the financial position to offer a raise? Has the sales team hit or missed their quarterly goals? Is the stock price, for a publicly traded company, on the down side or moving up?

Bottom line, if the company is having a challenging year, whether you are due a raise or not, your boss may have their hands tied. If the money isn’t there to give, chances are pretty good you’re not going to get it.

Also, make sure you take time to run salary comparisons to counterparts in similar companies. You may feel you deserve a raise, but if you are already making more than your competition you may have a difficult time selling your point of view.

Everything is negotiable. Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another thing. Carrie Fisher

Another important tip is to plan what you will say. This is true regardless of the discussion. Creative Sourcing says:

Prepare your Talking Points

Next, be prepared. Are you asking for a raise because you just think it’s time or are there other reasons behind your request? For example, have you

Outperformed others in your department as well as your own past performance bringing in unexpected revenue.

Discovered ways for your department to streamline activities thereby saving the company time, money, effort, etc.

Worked on a special project which required additional hours and yet have continued to exceed expectations in your regular assignments.

Taken a leadership role with some of the new hires, mentoring and encouraging them to be successful.

These are just a few examples you may site, when talking with your boss, about the possibility of an increase in your salary. Don’t forget to list your accomplishments and include the numbers that correspond with your performance.

The same is true if you are asking to be appointed to a project, mentor a new employee or receive additional training. Express the whys behind your request and the expected results for both you and the company if you are granted your request.

Lastly, you need to be authentic. You need to be yourself and be true to the goal you are working toward. In an article from the Glass Hammer, the author Molly Fletcher expands this idea:

Be authentic
Too often, women feel pressured to become somebody else when it comes to negotiation. As I share in my book, ( A Winner’s Guide to Negotiating: How Conversation Gets Deals Done) effective negotiation isn’t a battle between wills, it’s a conversation between people. Approach the negotiation as you would an important conversation. People respond better to consistency and you will be more comfortable with the ebb and flow if you are in your own comfort zone. Use your own strengths to your advantage instead of copying what you perceive to be as the most effective negotiating styles. 

Molly ends her article with a call to action for all women in the business world. Negotiation should be an important part of your career trajectory:

Why is negotiation so important for women? First, it’s a small but important piece in closing the wage gap. The importance of negotiation, however, goes beyond just money. When women don’t negotiate, they sacrifice more than just money. They sacrifice opportunity—for training, growth, leadership, recognition and promotions. It becomes a cycle, because in order to change the stereotypes and expectations about women negotiating, we must have women in leadership positions.

Think about your own circumstance as it stands today. If you knew the answer would be yes – what would you negotiate for? How would you prepare for the discussion? What would be your talking points? Once you have prepared, ask for time on your boss’ calendar and GO FOR IT!