Today is Equal Pay Day, the day on which women effectively start working for free for the rest of the year because they are on average paid less than men. With research showing that the gender pay gap for full time workers in the UK is 11.9%, an increase from 10.6% last year, it’s more important than ever for women to put their negotiations skills to the test so they can get the salary that they deserve. As a commercial skills trainer and coach who has helped thousands of people master the art of negotiation, here are my top tips to help you harness your EQ and negotiate with confidence.
Before the Negotiation:
- Prepare for success: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail so remember to research what people are paid in similar roles. The next step is to prepare your list of asks and a list of things you are prepared to offer in return – this way you will have a meaningful and collaborative negotiation. Always try to anticipate any counter-arguments from your boss so that you can respond rather than react to them during the negotiations. After all forewarned is forearmed!
- Adopt a winning mind-set: One of the main differences I notice between men and women is that men are often better at selling themselves. Whereas women often have an inner confidence they are particularly bad at blowing their own trumpet. A great way to boost your self-belief is to write a list of your recent achievements – work you are particularly proud of – and read it before you enter negotiations.
During the negotiation conversation:
- Balance the playing field: It can be easy to fall into a master-servant relationship when you are negotiating with your boss. So, level the playing field in your mind by reminding yourself that they need your skills as much as you need your job. You should know exactly what makes your boss tick – use this information to help you negotiate on an equal footing.
- Be ambitious: women are generally less ambitious in their ‘ask’ than men, so always start with your highest believable position or salary as you are far more likely to achieve the result you want. We’re often our own worst enemy when it comes to negotiation, talking ourselves down before we’ve even started negotiating. Silence any negotiating gremlins by reminding yourself exactly why you deserve that pay rise.
- Make a specific proposal: Use clear and confident language to deliver your ‘ask’ by stating the specifics – after all your idea of a good pay rise may be different to your boss’s. Avoid any “weak speak” those vague and hackneyed phrases that undermine your negotiating position such as “ideally I’m looking to get.”
- Be creative: Master negotiators think creatively and understand that there are different ways of cutting the deal. If you get a “no” to your first proposal, you need to stay optimistic and think of a new solution. This could be getting more flexible hours, a larger bonus or the opportunity to take a sabbatical as part of the new deal.
After the negotiations
- Be resilient: If you didn’t get the negotiating outcome you wanted, try to stay positive by taking the learnings from the situation and moving forward. Ask yourself what went well during the negotiation conversation and what you would do differently next time to keep upping your negotiation game. Above all, don’t respond with knee-jerk reaction, give yourself time for the dust to settle before considering your next course of action.
- Don’t be afraid to ask again: Just because you got a “no” once, doesn’t mean you won’t be successful the next time. Bear in mind that there could have been elements outside of your control that meant you couldn’t achieve the negotiating outcome you wanted, so be brave and ask again at the next appropriate opportunity.