Asking for a raise or trying to negotiate a better deal is a nerve-racking experience for many people. It’s often even harder for women, faced with society-driven expectations and stereotypical gender roles. In reality, successful negotiating is all about knowing your worth, investing in yourself and not being afraid to go after what you want. You deserve it, after all.
Before negotiating, do your research.
1. Do your research
Professional negotiators are always armed with knowledge, before negotiating. For example, if it’s a pay raise you’re after, compile a document listing your contributions, performance or underused skill sets, so the proof of your value is in black and white. This not only helps to convince yourself of your own worth, it takes the pressure off feeling like you’re bragging or remembering to highlight important details.
If your wage doesn’t match your work input, or you think you’re being ripped off, you’re probably seething internally.
2. Learn to speak up
If your wage doesn’t match your work input, or you think you’re being ripped off, you’re probably seething internally. This results in heightened stress levels, anxiety and, eventually, health issues. When you compare that to the small amount of discomfit it takes to speak up for yourself, it’s pretty clear which option is preferable. Speaking up for yourself is something that takes practice, so start off small by negotiating for better prices, whether it’s for electricity or a new fridge. The more you do it, the less fearful you’ll become.
3. Control your emotions
When it comes to negotiating, it’s not always easy to control your emotions. This isn’t surprising, when you’re feeling undervalued or vulnerable. However, it’s much harder to maintain a clear, logical mindset with emotions taking centre stage, so it’s crucial to rein them in. A few easy ways to do this include deep breathing, focusing on the bigger picture and understanding that if you fail the world won’t come crashing down. In fact, you’ll just learn how to approach it with extra skill next time.
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4. Hone your skills
If it’s public speaking or the ability to remember everything under pressure that impedes your negotiations, it’s time to practice your skills. Public speaking courses are a great way to enhance your interactions across all areas of life. Before an interview or meeting, practice what you’d like to say with a friend to give you feedback. At the very least, talk in the mirror so you can observe your body language and increase your confidence in what you’re saying.
5. Be prepared to walk away
Have you ever been to Bali or Phuket and bargained for things in shops? Most of the time, when you’re prepared to walk away you’ll get your bargain. The same concept works for all negotiations. When you know there’ll always be other opportunities, you won’t be so tempted to give in.
Always remember that facing a fear of negotiating is much easier than dealing with the consequences of not trying at all. Your future success depends on knowing your worth and standing up for what you deserve.