Real Talk

The negotiating habits all wildly successful women share.

I find, there are two types of women in this world. The first are the ones who say they want to advance in their career and be the best version of themselves – yet they don’t apply themselves or do anything about it. The second are the total #BossBabe ladies who get out there and grind and demand their worth and know what they want and make it happen. Which category do you fall into? Listen ladies, it is time to woman up and take control of our careers!

If you’ve just been offered a new job (or you want to get paid more in your current position), the first thing you need to do is figure out how to effectively negotiate your best salary. And yes, you can—and absolutely should—negotiate the first offer.

On average, women are less likely to negotiate than our male counterparts. Why? I think it’s because we often lack confidence or guidance. Aside from leaving money on the table, that hesitation is a reason—at least in part—that the gender wage gap still exists. But we want to change that statistic. To help you take control of your future, I’m trying to  uncover tips that will help you manage your career and your future. Ready to take it head-on?

The first (and biggest) mistake we make in their careers is not negotiating because we take whatever first offer we’re given, assuming that’s the final offer. In other words, we tend to assume that once we’re given an initial salary offer, that’s it. Done deal.

When in reality, it’s just a jumping off point to start negotiations. Yes, it’s scary. But you know what’s even scarier? Working alongside a man who makes more than you for the same job just because he was brave enough to speak up and ask for more and defend his worth.

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But, you need to be prepared and know the right way to ask for what you want. In my experience and from talking to other professions, here is everything you need to know to effectively negotiate that first job offer, from salary-comparison research to how to resist the urge to talk too much.

Ask for more.

If you’re negotiating your pay for a new job, ask for more than the salary they’ve offered you. That’s right–whatever offer they give you, you can (and should) ask for more. This is the best time to negotiate and you shouldn’t be afraid to do it. Your boss is used to it, and will expect it. Think about it – they want you. They just offered you a job! So, muster up the strength and ask.

How much more should you ask for? Typically you should be negotiating an increase of 5% to 10% on the initial salary offer. Picking an exact number rather than a range is more specific and indicates you’re serious and not into playing games with them. And, while you’re at it, negotiate for more than just money.

If your employer won’t budge on the increase in salary, try negotiating for flexible office hours, more vacation time, the ability to work from a remote location one day a week? That’s like money in the bank too. Remember, this is the best time to have these conversations.

Outline your “glows”.

Negotiating for a raise or jump in the totem pole means defending your worth. Show your boss you’re more eligible than any other employee. The intention is to state your value to the company.

Remind your employer of your superb qualifications with a list of tasks, accomplishments, contributions, and any statistical growth you contributed to the company. Exuding confidence will add assurance to your statement.

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Prepare your counter arguments.

Similar to the first initial interview with your boss, come prepared to be grilled. Instead of panicking on the spot, contemplate possible scenarios and points of discussion. Consider persuasive counter-arguments that will surprise your boss and force him or her to reconsider any doubt. This means researching the market for statistics that will back up your stance.

Embrace the silence.

After you make the ask, let the silence hang in the room.

One of the most important tactics to an effective negotiation is learning to become comfortable with occasional bouts of awkward silence. Learn to become comfortable with these. One of the most important tactics to an effective negotiation is learning.

Women tend to avoid negotiation because doing so can present a socially awkward situation (silence)—a phenomenon called the “social cost of negotiation.” But, we shouldn’t be afraid.

So, stop selling against yourself. Ask a question, then be quiet and give the other person a chance to respond. Let them break the silence, which will prevent you from saying anything you will regret.

Be prepared.

As the saying goes, “Practice, practice, practice–and then practice some more.”  Practice negotiation with a family member, your friend, a roommate–anyone. The key is to remain calm and avoiding any sort of an emotional appeal. In other words: Focus on your value to the company, or how you’ll make the company better—not for personal reasons. And have your number ready.

You can play both you and your boss, or maybe even cast your BFF as your boss. In both scenarios, creating and acting out the possible scenarios will reduce jitters and keep you confident when you’re ready to go in for the meeting.

Go get ’em ladies!
Have you ever had a conversation with your boss about a raise? How did it go? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section!

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