– this articles uses salary as an example of something that can be intimidating to negotiate. But the techniques and structure apply equally to non-salary working conditions as well as other situations where you negotiate.
What Is Negotiation?
“discussion aimed at reaching an agreement”.
It’s not combative. It is a respectful discussion. It serves you well to be prepared. And it takes practice.
- What is your underlying objective?
- What can you achieve by negotiating?
“Women who negotiate their salaries earn more than women who don’t.”
Ashleigh Shelby Rosette, Associate Professor of Management and Organizations at Duke University, Fuqua School of Business
Who Influences Your Career Negotiations?
With whom do you need to negotiation?
Who can support your efforts today and overtime?
- Yourself: make no mistake, your career with hard work and luck (good and bad) is yours alone.
- Partner: whomever you choose to spend your life with, they are the single most important influencer, supporter, and sounding board over the course of your career.
- Supervisor: your direct manager or future boss is the one who implements and flexes the organizational rules (or not). It’s important that your supervisor is aware of your career aspirations. They are your primary point of contact for all topics of negotiation and support.
- Peers: the shared experiences of your colleagues can keep you sane, and grounded. They are also able to quietly advocate for you (and vice-a-versa). Beyond your organizations, peers in other organizations can offer useful fresh perspective and ideas. Work to build these relationship both within and outside your workplace.
- Mentor: any trusted colleague or professional peer who shows you the ropes is helpful. Typically mentors come from the list of people above. These may be formal or informal arrangements. Consider who you call for advice. There’s load on mentoring here, here, and tips for working with mentors here.
- Sponsor: someone more senior who advocates for you when you’re not in the room.
- HR: finally the human resources department has a role in your career negotiation and some responsibility to you. Just remember their priority is the organization. If you decide to solicit their help, try an informal / off-the-record conversation first.
“Mary did a great job on that project.”
It can be as simple as drawing attention to the good work of a colleague. Women and men can advocate successfully in this low key way.
Breaking Down Barriers To Negotiation
This list represents what Simon calls the ‘homework’ of negotiating.
- Deciding To Ask: This is the most critical step! No decision to ask = no asking. Research indicates that women are less likely to ask; don’t make that mistake.
- Your Needs/Wants: Compile a list and ground it in market / factual data. For example in salary negotiation compile a list like this one on Product Management Salaries in Ireland.
- The Needs Of Your Negotiating Partner: What are the the needs of your company, team and direct supervisor. It’s hard to put yourself in the shoes of another but critical for successful negotiation.
- Invent Options: Come up with a variety of different way to achieve your goal and your negotiation partners’ goals. Try and be inventive. Ensure you include your “BATNA”.
BATNA: if negotiations fail, what is the most ‘best alternative to a negotiated agreement’. Make sure you understand your bottom line.
- Confidence: Good preparation and practice increases confidence. When you have carefully worked through this list, you are setting yourself up for success.
- Conscious & Unconscious Bias: Many of the ingrained ways we work make for an unfair world. For example, awareness of the causes and challenges of gender pay gap empowers your negotiating skills.
- Practice: Finding words that are respectful, and clearly articulate your needs, and demonstrate understanding of your negotiating partners needs takes practice. A collaborative approach to negotiating is most likely to result in you and your negotiation partner feeling satisfied with the outcome. Work with a trusted peer to find the right words.
- An Opportunity: Ideally your organization has an annual performance review where you make your interests and expectations known, as well as receive feedback on what’s working well and what to work on next. Alternatively invent a performance review by requesting a meeting with your direct manager clearly stating you’d like to schedule a talk about the points above. There may also be a critical event, such as a big project completed or deal closed, when the timing is good to initiate such a discussion.