Primary Blog/Career Growth & Guidance/Five Habits to Adopt Before You Ask for a Raise. Strategy for Effective Salary Negotiation

Five Habits to Adopt Before You Ask for a Raise. Strategy for Effective Salary Negotiation

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Do you feel that your contributions as of late merit a raise in your salary but the thought of negotiation leaves you feeling nervous, hesitant, or overwhelmed?

Negotiating a salary raise can be a nerve-wracking experience. It requires you to step up and advocate for yourself with confidence. Although even the top performers in a company find the negotiation conversation challenging, the possible outcomes are a yes, a no, or an unknown because it was avoided altogether out of fear.

Perhaps you are at a point in your career where it is appropriate or even overdue to initiate a salary negotiation. Perhaps you have worked for a number of years in the same role without a raise, or you have recently upgraded your skills and knowledge. You’ve made significant impacts on the company and know that you have a higher value than your current paychecks shows. It’s time to ask for a raise.

There are five effective habits that anyone can adopt to ask for a raise and get one. They are: declare your value, communicate powerfully, develop clarity, command the room, and draw out participation. Let’s look at each one further in depth.

Declare your value, not your needs

So many people will start a salary negotiation with their needs as the employee. For example, bringing up the financial needs to raise their children, the rising living costs due to inflation, or unexpected expenses to pay. And while those may be valid personal drivers to seek a raise, they are unlikely to result in effective persuasion during a salary negotiation.

Sustainable fair exchange, when it comes to individual employee contributions, is essential for cohesive and productive corporate governance.

A company is not set up for the purpose of taking care of every employee’s personal needs; a company exists to have a meaningful vision of an improved future and then to be profitable achieving that vision.. The company must balance the needs of all stakeholders including its customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders, and the local community.

Hence if the salary negotiation is focused on your personal needs, it fails to demonstrate sustainable fair exchange.

Instead of declaring your needs, declare your value.

Attempt to determine what is truly important and highest on their priority of values and articulate a fair individual exchange for your contributions that is congruent with their highest values.

What value do you bring to the company? What have you been able to achieve recently? Get very specific about these things and prepare to communicate them. Here are a few tips to help:

What specifically have you done in the last few months or years? Bring examples and proof, such as sales reports or customer reviews.

Practice how you are going to present this information so it is clear and concise.

Discuss where you will be able to go and the future value you can bring.

The goal of the conversation is to sell them on your value to the company. You want to bring clear evidence that makes giving you a raise a no-brainer.

Communicate powerfully, not passively

Most of us just want to be liked. We care about being agreeable and easygoing so that people will like us and there won’t be any friction or tension. And while this is not necessarily a bad thing, it leads people to be passive communicators who don’t advocate for themselves.

A salary negotiation is a sales conversation. Communicate powerfully and advocate for yourself out of genuine care and concern for the productivity and growth of the collective organization. This does not mean swinging the other way to become disagreeable and obstinate, but it is about finding the right middle-ground where you are communicating with power, confidence, and clarity.

Develop clarity to create confidence

So many people will go into a salary negotiation without a crystal-clear idea of what they want. They might have a salary range, but it is not specific enough. Salary ranges are not ideal since it is more likely that the negotiated outcome will lean towards the low end of the range.

Developing clarity around what you want will create confidence as you approach the discussion. Here are the three numbers you need to be clear on before starting a conversation:

Your ideal number. What is your ideal salary and why have you chosen it? This number needs to be backed with evidence. Do your research on market rate, industry averages, the company’s historical offerings, and geographic averages.

The lowest number you can accept. If the employer is not able to reach your ideal salary, what is the lowest you will accept without feeling like you are continuing to be devalued. You need to be clear on this, otherwise you may say “yes” to something that truly does not match the value you know you have.

Your BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement). There may be unique and context-specific reasons why they don’t grant you a salary increase, such as market downturn or changing roles. Consider turning towards a non-monetary alternative such as increased vacation time or professional development funding. Consider what you might be willing to accept in lieu of a salary increase.

Command the room with a strong presence

A salary negotiation conversation is about you and your value. Therefore, you need to have a commanding presence in the room and be unafraid to initiate the conversation. Many people make the mistake of waiting until they are invited to begin a conversation, or they will even wait until their annual performance review to broach the topic.

Instead, consider the best time for you to discuss your salary given the specific context of your history and timeline of contributions, and your demonstrable growth trajectory in the company. Then, come prepared with an agenda and let your boss know your intended outcome for the meeting. Proceed with clarity and confidence, commanding the room with your presence.

Draw out participation in a discussion

We’ve talked about how you need to come with facts and evidence to justify your request for a salary increase. However, this is not a one-sided presentation, but a discussion between two people. Bring your facts and evidence, but also make space for conversation by drawing out participation.

Encourage participation by asking open-ended questions. This will help you gauge where the employer is with the situation and what kind of outcome they may be amenable to. Questions will also help you understand what their values are so you can link it back to your own response about your value to the company and how you will benefit them. Participation makes for a much more effective negotiation as you can feed off of their responses.


Negotiating a raise is both an art and a science. These five habits will be effective steps, but you will need to adapt them to your situation. And, like anything, knowledge itself is not going to produce change—you need to take action and implement them!

Accountability is the multiplier for success. When we set out to make improvements to ourselves and our lives, transformation is key. Information alone doesn’t transform. My coaching program, Awaken to Vocation, is an empowerment program for educated, career-driven professionals who value making a meaningful contribution as much as they value making a good living. It is designed to help you master your professional destiny, elevate your vocational confidence, and dominate your life purpose. Guard your future.

Apply HERE for an opportunity to work with me.

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