3 Keys to Effective Negotiations

3 Keys to Effective Negotiations

NegotiationsA friend recently mentioned that they wanted to ask for a raise and some benefits but didn't know how best to approach it. They asked if I had some suggestions that might help ease the stress and anxiety of taking on the boss and asking for more – without fear of losing their job. Here is my simplified method – 3 keys to Effective Negotations. Follow these steps and not only will you NOT lose your job but you'll walk away much happier with the results and feeling more confident in your ability to negotiate.

  1. Make a list of your accomplishments. What have you done to improve the company? Have you made the boss's life easier in any way? Perhaps you've catalogued a warehouse, organized the office so things are much easier to find, maybe you've made a list of important contact numbers and put this list at the boss's fingertips, saving tons of time for them, or completed a project that reaped huge benefits or time savings for the company. Whatever you've done, make a list.  It's important to come from the boss's perspective, rather than your own. Instead of saying, 'I've done this for you…" (making it all about you) you should say how the boss or company has benefited. For example, you could say something like: "Because the warehouse is now organized, it takes half the time to pick stock, which means we can now pick and ship twice as much in a day than we could before, providing faster delivery to our customers' (if you have actual numbers of how much you've saved the company, be sure to include that.) What this shows is value – your value.
  2. Set up an appointment to discuss.  Your boss is busy, so it's not fair or considerate to just spring something on them. Besides, this is important to you and you may only have 1 shot at it, so you want to make sure you do it right the first time. Set up a time to discuss it but keep it short – a half-hour (30 minutes) is more than enough time to negotiate a raise (or whatever).  You'll need to call the meeting something, to give him/her some idea as to what the meeting is about. You can call it "performance review" or 'status and update', or something like that.
  3. Keep it short, concise, and unemotional. When the time comes for your meeting, do not include things like "it would really help me and my family to have benefits…"   Begin by stating how long you've been with the company and that you enjoy it there. That will immediately put the boss at ease and open to hearing what you have to say. Make a copy of the list for the boss so they can follow along as you quickly review it. (Take extra effort to make this list presentable and error free – use spell and grammar check.) After you have finished reviewing your list of accomplishments, that's the time to ask for the raise.  The boss may even ask you what you want before you have the chance to ask for it yourself.  Again, keep it short and unemotional. When you're asking, say that you believe you have earned ……(the raise, extra vacation, whatever); don't say you 'deserve' it.

Important: Understand that the boss may be prepared to answer you right away and tell you what they think or they may not. If there seems to be a pause or lag in their response, don't lose your cool. The boss should be the next one to speak – however long that takes, especially if they are a controlling type of personality who likes to make the decisions. If they are not talking, it's because they are thinking. I know that silence can be uncomfortable but if you really want your raise, then don't interrupt their train of thought.  If they want time to think about it, then that's ok too and not a bad sign – ask for a follow-up date & time in the not too distant future.  They might just need to go back to their books (or another department – or speak to their boss) before granting you your request. Good luck!!

To learn more about how to communicate with all 4 personality types more effectively, visit:


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