If the thought of sitting in front of your boss and asking for a pay rise fills you with dread – you’re certainly not alone. However, with the cost-of-living crisis worsening, it’s not surprising that an increasing number of us are plucking up the courage to ask for a pay rise or promotion. So, to help you banish those negotiation nerves, we wanted to share our expert advice on how to use your emotional intelligence to negotiate the pay rise you deserve. 


Before the negotiation: 

  • Do your homework: We’d all love to get a 50% pay increase but the secret to negotiating successfully is being appropriately ambitious. Be mindful of how your company is performing so you can set yourself up for success and pitch your pay rise with confidence. Take the time to research what other people in similar jobs are earning to help you calculate your true worth. 
  • Get the timing right: Timing is everything. Dial up your EQ to assess the current situation so you can make a sound commercial judgement. If, for example, your company are laying off lots of people or are adversely affected by the current economic uncertainty, you need to reflect this in your ask. This shouldn’t mean you shy away from negotiating, however you should take it into consideration when you are planning how much of an increase to ask for. If, on the other hand, your company is struggling with staff turnover and is finding it difficult to replace people, use this knowledge to build your confidence and boost your negotiating position.  
  • Prepare for any obstacles in your path: Plan for success by thinking about any hurdles that may be put in your way.  This could be your boss bringing up a mistake you have made in the past or comparing your performance or package to one of your colleagues. By preparing a calm and measured response you are less likely to react in a defensive way and more likely to keep the negotiation conversation flowing. 
  • Blow your own trumpet: A great way to boost your self-belief is to write down a list of your recent achievements – work you are particularly proud of – and read it before you enter the negotiations. This will help silence your inner gremlin – that voice inside your head that tells you why you can’t achieve something – so you can negotiate with confidence.  


During the negotiation conversation: 

  • Put your proposal on the table: It’s no good skirting around the issue, you need to dig deep, be brave and ask for that pay rise – after all if you don’t ask, you don’t get! It can be easy to fall into a master-servant relationship when you’re negotiating with your boss, so balance the playing field by reminding yourself that your employer needs your skills as much as you need your job. 
  • Walk the talk: Use clear and confident language to deliver your ‘ask’. Avoid “weak speak” those vague phrases that undermine your negotiating position such as “I was wondering if it was possible to….” and state specific figures instead. Remember, only 7% of communication comes from the actual words you say, so it’s important to walk the talk and look confident and in control.   
  • Dial up your creativity: Think creatively and understand that there are different ways to cut the deal.  If you get a “no” to your first proposal, you need to stay optimistic and think of other options.  This could be more flexible hours, a larger bonus or the opportunity to take a sabbatical as part of the new package. 


After the negotiations 

  • Be resilient: If you didn’t get the pay rise you’d hoped for, resist the temptation to down tools. Instead try to stay positive by taking the learnings from the situation. Ask yourself what went well during the conversation and what you would do differently next time to keep upping your negotiation game.  
  • 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. Remember, as we mentioned before, timing is important, so pick your moment wisely; this could be when you’ve been voted employee of the month or after your company has landed a big new contract.