More often than not, women allow fear and a lack of confidence to miss out on vital stepping stones in starting a business, that would lead to them experiencing better opportunities. This is not to say that women have not experienced improved equality and growing their voice, in recent decades. But unfortunately, women still struggle with a lack of confidence when it comes to asking for the value they are worth. This is why women must learn how to become great negotiators. Learning how to negotiate is not an easy skill to learn, but it proves to be a vital asset when applied effectively during situations that require the skill set. More importantly, it helps women learn how to ask for their worth in many other areas of their life, outside of the workplace.
Research has shown that only 12% of women negotiate their pay rate, while the rest choose to settle for the salary offered to them. This is not acceptable behaviour, especially if these women know they are worth more money than the salary they are being offered. It has been calculated that women lose an average of $1 million dollars throughout their career because they fail to negotiate what they are worth.
If you are interested in overcoming your struggles when it comes to negotiating, you can learn the steps it takes to successfully negotiate pay raises and promotions during your corporate career.
The following steps are six ways women can boost their confidence to successfully negotiate the improvement they seek in their career.
Reflect on the achievements that demonstrate your value
Before you enter into a meeting where you will be negotiating, take a moment to reflect on the achievements and success that you have experienced throughout your career. You can state your case by communicating the responsibilities you have successfully carried as an employee, and also highlighting the increase in your workload, while never failing to deliver the results that were required of you. Your employer will not be able to deny your continued great performance if you are effective at stating your case. You are showing that your hard work is making an impact on the company as a whole. Therefore, your employer will want to invest in your continued commitment to their company, so that you remain with them long-term.
One thing that you must not do is enter into a negotiation, comparing yourself to one of your colleagues. Many women make this mistake and it can prove to be disastrous. Just because you both may work in similar positions, it does not mean that your skill sets mirror one another. Choose to only focus on what you bring to the table and highlight the benefits gained by the company as a whole for your performance.
Use credible data to build a solid foundation of evidence
Never walk into a meeting you initiated and you are unprepared to present a strong analysis to support your case for why you should be paid more. This reflects badly on you and decreases your chances of securing such a meeting again in the future. If you want clearly present your value and strengthen your confidence, while at the negotiating table, have credible data on hand to support your case. When you are doing this, you want to gather multiple data sources that provide you with additional support, so your claims are backed up with real evidence. This is especially true when you are negotiating a salary increase. Some of the sources you can use include: Glassdoor, LinkedIn Salary, and Payscale. Your employer will not be able to deny your argument when you provide them with real industry data.
Most people’s negotiations fall apart before talks even begin, because they fail to prepare ahead of the scheduled meeting. Therefore, you must be fully prepared, by using the information you gain through thorough research. Doing this shows to your employer that you came prepared to successfully state your case and negotiate with strong confidence.
Related read: Women empowerment at the workplace
Prepare for rejection and have a follow-up plan
Your negotiation will fall apart quickly if you become emotional during the meeting. You cannot become defensive and threaten to quit just because things do not go your way. This will make your employer become combative, which means nothing will come of the meeting but you being viewed negatively, or possibly even fired. You do not want to create a tense relationship with your boss, because they will choose to overlook you when they are looking to promote someone to a higher position.
Although you should be prepared for rejection during negotiations, you should never fear rejection. In order to be proactive about rejection, practice how you will respond when you have to deal with it. Even if the negotiation does not go in your favor, remain confident and ask for a future meeting, if possible. You want to show your employer that you have an action plan that includes a timeline for goals you plan to accomplish. This timeline should include performance milestones, achievements, and future education.
Eliminate your weakness to strengthen your stance
You must provide evidence for why you deserve a raise. You need solid proof to back up your request, especially when your employer will most certainly ask you questions to gauge your level of supporting evidence. You can prepare yourself by doing a roleplay with colleagues and friends until you are comfortable enough to negotiate in real-life situations. You should also voice record yourself to catch any weaknesses in your speech, that will weaken your position.
You want to be sure that you avoid using negative language or comparing yourself against other employees when negotiating. All you need to focus on is how your performance has helped the employer’s company succeed, which can continue occurring at a higher level if you are provided with a promotion or raise.
Mental preparation is a definite prerequisite if you want to have a successful negotiation. You must visualize your presentation and believe that you are deserving of what you are asking for. Most women are not good negotiators because they do not want to be seen as selfish. But if you choose to not put your needs and wants first, you will only be taken advantage of and undervalued as a result.
Have a powerful presence
Your body language speaks higher volumes about you, rather than the words that come out of your mouth. This is especially true when you speak words that are supposed to be meant as strong, but your delivery reflects weakness. When you are operating with a strong and confident presence, you are provided with power during negotiation situations. The power you hold starts in your mind, which is a correlation of how you envision yourself. This is why you need to start practising positive body language to boost your confidence and sense of power. Practice a power pose to perform better while talking and to think with a sense of power in mind.
Although body language plays a big role in how your presence is seen, the way you communicate your words also plays a role. Eliminate filler words from your vocabulary and think about exactly what you want to say before replying to a question. Do not go on and on making a case for why you deserve a raise or promotion. Make a short and strong message to open the conversation and proceed with negotiations. After you make your argument, remain silent and allow your employer to make the first move. Once they make an offer, think before you respond. If it is a number that you were not expecting, counter with a number that is based on the research you gather prior to the negotiation.
Related Read: 6 mistakes to avoid with your Startup
Initiate a Follow Up
The outcome of your negotiations is not necessarily a result of you making a weak argument. Sometimes other events, outside of your meeting, play a role in how the negotiations go. You need to understand this fact if this is the case for you. If the company is experiencing some financial setbacks, or your employer seems to be stressed, hold off on requesting a meeting for negotiations. This does not mean that the meeting cannot occur in the future, it just means the current time is not the best time. If the time is not right, just follow up at a later date when things appear to be going more smoothly. If your company is not able to pay you more due to budget freezes, this does not mean you cannot negotiate other opportunities. You can request more flexibility or promotion that puts you in a leadership role. You can ask for a raise once the financial freeze ends.
Once you overcome the fear of negotiating, your skills as a negotiator will be a valuable asset when asking for a promotion or a pay raise. You will find your career more enjoyable as a result and be paid the money you are worth.