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Five Tips on How to Negotiate at Work

how to negotiate at work

Greene Resources was the presenting sponsor of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce Women’s Professional Luncheon on April 9. This luncheon featured a panel of local experts discussing how to negotiate at work. The panel included Dawn Ohaver Moyer, co-founder of Potential EssentialAmanda Owens, Vice President, Head US HR Advisor Desk at Credit Suisse; and Shannon Ralich, Contracts Attorney at Eaton.

Learning how to negotiate at work doesn’t have to be scary, stressful, or confrontational. When done correctly, it can strengthen professional relationships and bring greater success for you and those around you.  Here are five tips shared by the panel on how to negotiate at work:

Research Everything

Before scheduling or entering into a negotiation, you need to be armed with data.  If you are planning to extend an offer to a candidate, understand the salary range and other benefits available to the candidate, but also understand from where those numbers come and how they relate to the local employment market.  If you are a candidate preparing to negotiate a salary or a current employee planning to ask for a raise, understand what the average market rate is for your position and expertise.  At the end of your research, you should write down the a) best possible outcome, b) compromise, and c) worst case scenario.  Having a full understanding of the topic you are discussing will make you more confident and will allow you to be more strategic regarding what you plan to ask.

Practice and Prepare Ahead of Time

To feel more confident when negotiating, practice negotiating on smaller, less important things throughout the year.  Whether it is something insignificant – like going to a restaurant or choosing a movie with your friend or significant other – or something meaningful – like getting more flexibility in your schedule once a month to go to your child’s extracurricular activity – practicing how to negotiate to get the best outcome possible will help you feel more prepared when you need to negotiate for something more significant.

Know Your Audience

When preparing and researching, keep in mind the person with whom you will be speaking.  How do they best receive and interpret information?  Would they prefer a bulleted list of facts and figures or would they rather be told a story?  Will they need a heads up a day in advance or will they feel comfortable speaking to you off the cuff?  When going through your talking points, think about how they will counter what you are saying, and what you can say in response to their concerns.  By understanding how they like to speak and receive information, you will set yourself up for greater success.

Know Yourself

Too often, people associate negotiating with being tough, severe, or cold.  Remember that the goal of the negotiation is not necessarily to get your way, but to get the best possible outcome while still preserving your relationship with the other party.  You do not have to betray your personality to be a strong, professional negotiator.  Understand what you bring to the table and know your strengths, but also acknowledge your weaknesses and come up with an action plan on how to deal with the areas where you may struggle.

Truly Listen

It is so easy to pretend to listen to someone while you are just waiting for your chance to speak again.  This is not an effective negotiation tactic.  Negotiating has very little to do with you and much more to do with the other party and their needs.  Your goal should be to understand how their needs mesh with your own and where to find the best solution for each of you.  To accomplish this, you need to truly listen to the other person and ask questions based on the information you hear.  Additionally, what you hear may be new information that changes what your needs or desires are.  If that happens, be willing to change your stance based on this information.  Being willing to adapt to new information will build trust and credibility with the other person and will make them more open to meeting your needs.

At Greene Resources, we regularly see the need for effective negotiation when it comes to finalizing a job offer between an employer and job seeker.  Working with a recruiting firm provides both parties a mediator of sorts so that the best possible outcome is reached for everyone.  If you’d like to learn more about how to negotiate at work, whether for extending an offer or accepting a new role, we’d love to partner with you.

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