Written By: Jillian Climie.
After supporting many women in negotiating their compensation, two strategies have stood out to me as being the most impactful in increasing that final amount of money you receive. Neither of these come naturally to most of us; they must be practiced and worked on in advance.
Strategy #1: The power of the pause.
I’ve been in many negotiations where the person asking for more money almost talks themselves out of the negotiation. They’ll ask for their number or range and provide their rationale, but then they will continue to talk. They might end up saying something along the lines of: “I understand this might be out of budget” or “I know there are other team considerations” or “If there’s something else that is easier to give me instead, no problem.”
It can feel awkward to ask for more money, and to cover up that awkwardness we can start to spew out all of our thoughts. This isn’t helpful for three reasons: 1) you may genuinely talk yourself out of your ask before the person on the other side of the table even has a chance to (as shown in the examples above), 2) including so much information can be distracting, leading the listener to not end up hearing the key takeaways you intended, and 3) you are taking away all the awkward space for the other person.
Start utilizing the power of the pause. Say your piece – and stop talking. It will likely feel awkward, but let the person on the other side of the table feel that awkwardness. Use that as your strength, force them to come back to you. It switches the power dynamic and demonstrates your confidence. It puts the pressure on them. We’ve had many clients use this strategy real time in a negotiation and tell us after that it completely changed the trajectory of the conversation. Practice this in advance. Know exactly what you’re going to say and when you’re going to stop talking. Book in a prep session with us here for support with this.
Strategy #2: Hold to your number.
We coach our clients to pick a specific number to ask for when negotiating – for example, a $15,000 salary increase, or a 10% target bonus, or a $20,000 stock grant. Specific numbers are clear, confident, and puts you in the driver seat.
But what also is important, is holding to that number in the conversation. If the person you’re negotiating with says they can’t meet the number you’ve asked for, or offers another lower number or alternative benefit instead, don’t feel the need to respond immediately. Practice saying: “I’ve spent a lot of time coming up with this number and am confident it reflects my value, so I’ll get back to you by [time frame] on what you’ve outlined.”
Not moving from your number right away is so powerful. Even just giving someone a few hours to think about what you’ve said can increase the value of what you end up receiving. This strategy can also be used in email negotiations. Again, we’ve had many clients who’ve used this approach and ended up getting more money because of it.
Practice these strategies, refine them, and get comfortable with them. Neither of these strategies are aggressive; they’re really about saying less instead of saying more. Leave space for the other person to think about what you’ve said. Oftentimes that space is just what they need to increase the value of what they give you.
Book a 1:1 prep session with us at The Thoughtful Co today where we help you determine what compensation, benefits and perks to ask for, craft a negotiation script, and build out strategies like these.