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Whether you’re looking for a new job or celebrating working at the same company for years, the time will inevitably come for you to negotiate.
You could be getting a call with a job offer, and you’re not sure if the salary package they told you about was the beginning of a negotiation or the end of a conversation. You could be experiencing a short-staffed operation that relies on you for more and more work and you realize it’s a chance for you to have a bigger conversation about your role and responsibilities. Wherever you are, negotiation is a learned skill, and it’s about a lot more than digging in your heels and making your demands known.
As you approach your manager or HR department to negotiate your pay or promotion, remember to remain true to who you are. If you’ve always been friendly and accommodating, coming in hyped up on Red Bull® and adrenaline could cause you to be disregarded or dismissed almost instantly. Stay true to who you are and who you’ve been, and simply adapt the strategies and communication tactics for negotiation to who you are. Acting defiantly when you’ve always been lighthearted or seeming disgruntled when you’ve always been a team player will do you more harm than good.
As you consider the request you’ll be making of your company, be prepared to defend your remarks with clarity. Don’t demand a brand new company car if no one else in the company has one. Don’t ask for unrealistic demands to be met and don’t expect your boss or manager to treat you like you’re the best thing to happen to the company. Simply look reasonably at the work you’re doing, the compensation you’re receiving, and the opportunities in front of you. And then communicate accordingly.
Don’t overplay your hand. Don’t say things that aren’t true about the work you’re doing. If you’re not working 60 hours a week, don’t claim that you are. If you aren’t the only one on the team that can do what you can do, don’t say that you are. Stay honest about who you are, what you do, and why you think you deserve an opportunity, a pay raise, or a promotion.
The rest of the keys to good negotiation can be found all over the internet and on episodes of The Office. But if you can remain calm, human, reasonable, and honest, you’re likely to end up in a much better place.