How to negotiate effectively

Would you be okay with losing out on $200,000 at the end of your career?

According to a recent study, researchers found that new hires who negotiated their starting salaries gained about $5,000 over those who didn’t.

$5,000 might not seem like much, but over a 40 year period, at the very least, amounts to roughly $200,000 in lost income!

Negotiations are challenging, and salary negotiations in particular might seem especially daunting. In this article, you’ll learn how you can negotiate effectively to get what you want while making sure the other side feels it is in their best interest to help you. We will be focusing on salary negotiations in particular for the remainder of this article.

How to view a negotiation

Successful negotiation is all about positioning yourself well. The most common mistake most people make when entering negotiations is taking an adversarial stance against their employer. Think about it, if you were your boss, would you want to work with someone who seems combative and applies brute force to get what they want? Or would you rather want to work with someone who expresses interest in helping you get what you want while they benefit simultaneously?

Remember the following:

“The outcome of any negotiation is dependent on your ability to guide the conversation to get what you want, while making sure the other side gets a great deal as a result.”

Maintain composure

Before you can start negotiating like a pro, there are a few things you need to take into account. Imagine that you’re a hostage negotiator. Would you give into every. single. demand a bank robber asks? Would you grovel and beg they release the hostages and you’ll do anything under the sun to please them?


Salary negotiations work in a similar manner. It will work against you if you beg or plead for a raise. Instead, think about negotiations as being collaborative activity. Taking a collaborative approach creates a stress free environment for both parties and leads to open, honest and constructive conversations. This will allow you to understand what is truly important to your manager for them to give you a raise.


Know what they want and over-deliver

Do you know exactly, down to the finest detail, what is expected of you at your job? If the answer is no, then you should find out as soon as possible. Explicitly ask your manager for the top 3 tasks they find valuable and ensure you deliver on them consistently. Go above and beyond and over-deliver. It is extremely difficult to turn down someone who is working hard and delivering results. Make it hard for your manager to say “No” to you.

Be flexible

Being flexible is important because you might be presented with alternatives that are more attractive.

E.g. your company might offer you stock options and/or more vacation time instead of a higher salary. In the cases early employees of now-successful companies such as Google, Microsoft, Apple and many others, this option has proven lucrative over the standard salary increase.

By staying open to different options, you display versatility and increase your chances of having a successful negotiation.

Putting it all together

You’ve done your homework, you’re a great employee and now you’re ready to execute your plan.

Negotiation is an important skill that is useful in all aspects of life and business. The more you practice, the better you become.

What do you find challenging about negotiation? How do you deal with it? Let me know in the comments below.

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