What are you negotiating for at work? Is it a promotion? A raise? Working from home full time? A new position? Working less? Changing teams? Retirement?
Whatever aspect of your work life you are currently negotiating, the pandemic makes an already unpredictable task more stressful then usual. Negotiating is not everyone’s favorite thing to do. It can be a sweat-provoking activity that causes many people to freeze and take what they are offered. Many of us don’t negotiate often enough to feel competent at it. So here is a crash course on how to negotiate – even in a pandemic.
1 –Prepare and Plan.
Know what you want. Know what you want in a perfect world and what you can live with in a pandemic world. Be realistic. This may require doing research.
2 – Clarify and Justify
Be direct and clear in your ask. Practice (on friends) asking for what you want. Get comfortable saying it. More importantly, come up with solid reasons for your ask. Is your request justifiable because of your market value? Does your promotion or raise make sense based on your accomplishments? Be ready with documents (sales reports, list of accomplishments, industry standards) that clarify and justify your position.
3 – Ask for more than you want
This can be challenging for those of you who are uncomfortable advocating for yourself. It’s important to ask for more than you want, as you will most likely not get what you initially ask for.
4 – Waiting and silence are important.
Do not speak or write again until you get a response to your initial ask. Quickly speaking or writing to fill in the blank space will show the other person that you are uncomfortable. This is when we inadvertently lower the bar for what we could get. Waiting is where the sweating comes in. If you come off too eager or desperate, you will not get what you want.
5 – Look for a Win/Win solution.
Both sides will want to win, so it’s okay to compromise. By being accommodating, you will be seen as a collaborator. Your negotiating partner will see you in a better light and will be more likely to strike a deal.
6 – Get closure in writing
Make sure to close the negotiation with some kind of written agreement. Whatever you are able to negotiate, get it in writing. Verbal agreements are nice but they don’t protect you from possible backsliding or misinterpretation over time.
- Avoid. Do not use the strategy of avoidance, hoping the situation will resolve itself. Avoiding never works to your benefit. It may take the pain of negotiating away, but the result will be less than what you could have received if you’d stepped up and stated what you wanted.
- Play innocent. Put on your big adult pants and ask for what you want. No one else will do it for you.
Kathi Elster – Executive Coach and co-owner of K Squared Enterprises.
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