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How to master a pay rise negotiation like a man

Negotiation is a skill women can't afford to ignore amid the gender pay gap. Ellie Austin-Williams on why it's time to stop leaving money on the table

Ellie Austin-Williams
Freelance Writer
May 24, 2024
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Negotiation is, for many people, an art reserved for spies working in high stakes hostage situations, or suited and booted CEOs sitting across a boardroom table discussing the details of multi-million pound deals. Yet this picture couldn't be further from the truth. 

Negotiation is a powerful skill and one that we can all benefit from learning, no matter what stage you are at in your career. For women in particular, getting comfortable with asking for what you deserve is essential to improving your financial prospects - both now and in the future - and closing the gender pay gap sooner than 2051, which is the date forecast at the current rate of change.

Businesswoman using mobile phone and digital tablet in office hall© Getty
When it comes to pushing the female financial outlook forward at a faster pace, negotiation is a skill we cannot afford to sleep on

So, if the last time you took part in a negotiation was on the beachfront with a street vendor where you bagged a discount on your souvenirs and the idea of negotiating your salary sends shivers down your spine, here’s what you need to know to set yourself up for negotiation success. Because when it comes to pushing the female financial outlook forward at a faster pace, negotiation is a skill we cannot afford to sleep on - both literally and figuratively. 

Don't ask and you don't get

There's one thing that’s clear when it comes to successful negotiations and that's that there’s a far higher chance of receiving a salary increase or better package when you ask for one. It might seem obvious, but waiting for your manager to offer a raise is much more likely to see you stand still than if you speak up and approach the topic yourself. 

Plus the more specific you can be with your request, the better the outcome - so be prepared to put forward a number if you want to boost your chances of success.

Start preparing now

You might think of the meeting where you put your cards on the table as the negotiation itself, but the truth is that the preparation work has usually been in the weeks or months in the run up to the date itself. The closer you get to a negotiation, the more likely you are to forget some of the vital details you want to put forward to back your position, so get ahead and start preparing for your next negotiation now. 

Start a document where you note down all and any achievements, milestones or things worth mentioning in your negotiation to come.

Anchor your confidence

Confidence when you enter a negotiation can shift how you feel during the negotiation. 

Business partners shaking hands at the office.© Getty
Confidence when you enter a negotiation can shift how you feel during the negotiation

"Think back to a time you felt incredibly confident and assertive," advises Life Coach Gemma Perlin. "Remember what you saw, heard and felt, notice what felt possible. Now, when negotiating, deliberately recreate those feelings. This 'anchoring' technique provides an immediate connection to your powerful inner resources."

It's not about you

However much you'd love a pay rise or better compensation package to take the financial pressure off your shoulders or pay for that holiday you've been dreaming of because you feel like deserve it, put your business hat on and approach any request from the opposite side of the table. 

Put forward the business case for the value you bring to your organisation and demonstrate to your boss what’s in it for them and the wider team if they grant your request.

Embrace the power of silence

Modern woman working from home© Getty
Get ahead and start preparing for your next negotiation now

Finally, Gemma notes that even if it feels uncomfortable, saying less can help you in a negotiation situation. "Don't feel pressured to fill the space after stating your desired figure. Silence is a powerful tool that conveys both confidence and your unwavering conviction in your worth."

DISCOVER: Why women need to fight the pension gender gap 

So, next time you find yourself with an annual review or job change on the horizon, arm yourself with the tips above and go get that pay rise that you deserve! 

Ellie Austin-Williams is the author of Money Talks, a Lifestyle Guide for financial wellbeing. Find her on Instagram at @thisgirltalksmoney.

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