There is a fine line between negotiating your position and forcing someone into a confrontation. The trick is being able to keep your goals in mind, and explaining them to the other party as reasonable. In the majority of cases, the main topic for negotiation is salary. It can be a touchy subject, but don’t be afraid to approach it – just ensure it’s in the correct forum, rather than shouted across a crowded office. Try and arrange a mutually agreeable time when neither of you is under time pressure and can talk in private.
Identify Your Objectives
Before approaching any negotiation, sit down and work out your objectives. What is your primary goal? What is your secondary or fall-back position? What is unacceptable? Whether this applies to personal salary or company parking spaces, the principles are the same: if you’re clear about what you want it is much easier to negotiate and explain your position.
Research your subject, especially with regard to salary. What is the market rate for your role? What package would go with it? There is little point in turning up and shouting the odds about wanting a 30% pay rise if the industry won’t support it. All you succeed in doing is placing your employer in an impossible position.
Give and Take
Be prepared to be flexible. What is your fall-back position? For example, if you’re asking about study support, would you be happy to accept the cost of study materials etc if the course and exam fees are covered? If not, then EXPLAIN why you need the extra help, and how it would benefit your firm in the long run!
Listening is extremely important – if something isn’t clear to you ask for clarification. Listen for opportunities to remind your employer how much you bring to the role and helped achieve the company’s goals. Introduce the information piecemeal, rather than bludgeon your boss with statistics which will bring a defensive response.
Finally, stay calm, polite and professional throughout your meeting, even if you feel it went badly. It is fine to stick to your guns, but don’t compromise your integrity by losing your cool. If you aren’t getting what you want, you’re perfectly entitled to ask why, but do not resort to threats of resignation: nobody responds well to a gun put to their head!