Fear is the biggest barrier to negotiating your new salary or asking for a raise. A survey by Salary.com suggests that only 37 percent negotiate consistently for a higher salary. The remaining employees -- the vast majority of the workforce -- don't because they fear they don't have the necessary skills to win the negotiation. Thus, the most important thing you can do to prepare for a negotiation is to find -- or manufacture -- the confidence to properly initiate the conversation.
The following steps will help you discover your strengths through the lens of your employer's needs. You'll also learn how to use that knowledge, along with the confidence your negotiation education will provide, to actualize a fair value for your in-demand services.
Research Your Skills
Search for job postings similar to your current position that require your particular set of skills. Be sure to cross reference these jobs with the size of the companies posting the jobs, the responsibilities required and where the jobs are located. These postings should state basic starting salaries to help you set a basic market rate for your job qualifications.
Your overall is also based on your skills relative to the employer's needs, according to Inc. Prior to the interview, prepare a list of compelling reasons why you're indispensable to the employer. Are you the only engineer who can handle a new programming language? Maybe you're responsible for all the creativity in the company's marketing. How you phrase your value -- and back it up with hard data -- can make all the difference.
Talk about the Number
When asked about what you are looking for in a salary, quote a range of potential salaries with the amount you are looking for being the lower end of that range. So if you are looking to make $100,000 a year, suggest to your employer that you are looking to earn $100,000 to $120,000 a year. A 2015 study by the Columbia University Business School shows that starting a negotiation with a price range signals to the potential employer what your reservation price is and suggests that you are reasonable and willing to compromise. As a result, an employer is much less likely to provide a counter-offer that is significantly lower than the range you stated for fear of being perceived as impolite.
Once you have provided a range of values, explain how you arrived at those numbers. U.S. News recommends emphasizes the contributions you can make and have made to the company in support of your position. Don't become too focused on the base salary aspect. If your employer offers a lower base salary but is willing to provide a variety of superior fringe benefits, such as better insurance or more vacation days, you might be better with that offer than a higher salary with no benefits. Determine what makes you the happiest, most productive employee. If that means two more weeks of vacation in lieu of a $10,000 raise, then have that conversation.
Anger Can Be Good
The popular perception is that anger in a negotiation should be avoided. And, yeah, you should probably leave the desk-flipping to the professional wrestlers. However, recent research demonstrates that tempered displays of anger can be an effective tactic. A 2008 study published by the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology showed that if one party believes that the other is angry about an offer, the first party will make bigger concessions in their positions to ensure that a deal is made. On the other hand, if that same party believes that the other side is angry with the person, he or she will be less likely to make concessions. It's an important distinction: The perceived focus of the anger is key; so long as your employer perceives that you are not personally upset with her but at the offer, she will be more conciliatory when it comes to finalizing a deal.
It is vital that you temper any displays of anger during any negotiation. The same study as above states that displaying anger only works when the other side of the negotiation believes that the display is reasonable given the context. So a frustrated sigh or frown will probably be effective in soliciting concessions, while raising your voice or pounding your fist would almost be certainly counterproductive.