How to face your fears and negotiate a payrise

Negotiation is one of the most important skills you can master, both at work and in your personal life, but it can be stressful and difficult at the best of times.

If you’re one of those people who find negotiation awkward, you probably try to either avoid it completely or, spend as little time doing it as possible. This discomfort is often magnified when you are negotiating something for yourself, such as a payrise. Studies suggest we’re far more confident when negotiating on behalf of others; be it team members, clients or our employer. However, when we start to negotiate for something that matters personally to us, we often lose confidence and our performance suffers.

Here are a few tips on how to effectively negotiate your salary whilst managing your nerves and fears:

1 Try the REAP approach
Research: Make sure you do your research. The Hays Salary Guide is a useful tool for this, watch out for our latest edition out in June. Compile your contributions and value to the company, understand what matters to your employer.
Establish: Establish what really matters to you. Is it the number or is it benefits such as flexible hours or working from home?
Ask: Plan plenty of proposal options in advance, have a clear first choice and ask for this first. Be precise and avoid using a range – they only hear the lower end and you only hear the upper end.
Persevere: Don’t accept defeat as soon as you hear a ‘no’. Suggest your next choice of proposal incorporating different elements of a potential package. Have a strategy to keep the conversation alive or request a follow-up meeting to further evidence your contributions.

2 Acknowledge your nerves but use them to your advantage
A few nerves may actually enhance your focus and performance. However, if you know that negotiating your salary might reduce you to a nervous wreck, take steps in advance to manage this. Simple techniques such as taking deep breaths and counting to ten slowly in your head before the meeting can help. Also practice projecting a more powerful state of mind through your body language.

3 Don’t think negotiation is greedy, selfish or unacceptable
It is how things have been done for generations. If you don’t ask for yourself, who will? Trust your gut instinct that you deserve this, and stick to your guns. This will help you stay confident, focused and assertive.

Alex Jones Senior Regional Director, Hays Office Support