7 simple steps for negotiating with your boss

7 simple steps for negotiating with your boss.

Want a raise? Longing for a promotion to improve your career status?

If your year-end review was positive but you weren’t offered a salary increase or opportunities to advance, it’s time to take matters into your own hands.

According to money.cnn.com, pay raises for 2016 will be 3 percent, on average. You will want to request at least that much of a salary bump — or more if you have reason.

Before employers grant your requested raise or promotion, they ll need tactful persuasion and reassurances that your performance merits a reward.

Negotiation expert Deepak Malhotra, an award-winning Harvard Business School professor and author of the new book, Negotiating the Impossible , points out that achieving these objectives hinges on winning over the boss. He shares seven tips to boost your chances:

1. Understand when salary or promotion decisions are made

Knowing when the company typically makes these decisions means you will be less likely to run afoul of norms or miss opportunities for making your case most effectively.

Make sure you can articulate not only what you want, but exactly why you deserve it. If you can’t justify the “ask” you probably don’t want to make it.

Think also about the constraints your boss might have. Does he or she have the time and resources to give you what you want right now, or might it be easier a few days, weeks, or months from now?

Also, it’s usually unwise to surprise your boss with a demand for a raise or promotion. When you set up a time to chat, give him a preview of what it is you want to discuss.

2. Prepare your talking points

Taking the time to jot down what you do (and don’t!) want to say is very helpful. It’s also a good idea to share what you’ve written with others to get their perspective on how it comes across.

I advise against trying to memorize specific sentences. If it comes across as too rehearsed, if it doesn’t fit with the natural dialogue you’re having with the boss, or if you’re actively trying to recall while stressed, things can go wrong.

3. Emphasize a promotion over a raise

If you intend to negotiate both a raise and a promotion at the same time, keep in mind that in most cases, a promotion will come with a raise. But a raise will not always come with a promotion. So if you think you deserve both, more of your emphasis should be on why a promotion is deserved. In most cases the raise will follow naturally.

4. Be flexible

If the answer is “no,” it may be that your boss has real constraints. It’s helpful to show flexibility. For example, if he gives a good explanation for why he cannot promote you right away, but thinks you’re deserving, you might suggest a higher salary for the time being, and the opportunity to be evaluated for the promotion in the near future.

5. Use decorum

Getting angry or issuing threats is always a bad idea. A less-obvious mistake is to come across as too apologetic when you are making the “ask.” It can feed into a perception that even you don’t think you truly deserve what you’re asking for. The key is to justify what you’re asking for, be unapologetic about it, but do it in a respectful way.

6. Help them sell it

Even if the boss thinks you deserve what you’re asking for, you need to think about how she can explain to others why she gave you what you wanted. For example, if what you’re counting on the fact that the boss likes you to ensure a raise, that’s not an easy thing to explain to others. If he has evidence that you work harder, produce better results, or add value in unique ways, that’s something he can use to his decision

7. Understand what’s been decided

Pay attention to what is actually said. “Let me see what I can do” is not as good as, “We will make this happen.” If you’re getting an ambiguous or vague assurance, see if you can explore further to uncover any remaining hesitations or concerns.

Also, make sure that you understand any factors might derail your agreement. For example, does your boss need approval from someone else? If so, what can you do to help with that?

Finally, make sure you understand what is supposed to happen next. What is the timetable for implementation? When would it be appropriate for you to touch base with your boss to make sure things are moving along as planned? Offer to help out on next steps, or to provide a friendly reminder, if it’s appropriate.

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