(MCT)–QUESTION: I’m going to be negotiating salary with a new boss, and this always makes me nervous. I don’t want to settle for less than I should and I hear that she’s a tough negotiator. Do you have advice for me?
ANSWER: Know your value to your boss, and know what you need in order to take charge of the negotiation.
For a lot of people, negotiation raises a great deal of anxiety, and it’s common to leave money on the table. So bravo to you for recognizing this tendency in advance while you have time to avoid it.
Get centered to find your strong inner core. Take some deep breaths, letting any anxiety ease. Put your focus on the way you want to behave and be perceived. In negotiation, you want to be strong and assured. Envision that, and practice bringing that vision back if you start to feel tentative or nervous.
Create a clear vision of your desired outcome. If it is purely a salary negotiation, how much do you want? Also essential to know: How much would you accept? Consider other factors you’d like to bring into the negotiation, such as time off or extra development opportunities. These may be a primary part of your desired outcome or add-ons that would help you feel OK about taking a less-than-optimal salary.
Now, get inside your boss’ head. What is the result that will create a win for her? Think about what you know about her and ask around to find out what being a tough negotiator means. It could mean she always lowballs her offer, so you need to prepare for that and not be intimidated. Also consider the reasons she wants you on her team, and be ready to play those up. This is not the time to be humble about what you bring.