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Salary Negotiation Tips and Examples

Posted on 1/19/2023, 9:27:07 AM

“Salary negotiation” may drudge up dread for you, especially if you’re not well-versed in this highly specific skill. But it doesn’t have to. 

In the smash hit bestselling nonfiction book, Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It, you can learn how to negotiate anything and everything to your advantage from Chris Voss, a former top FBI kidnapping negotiator and expert in the art of persuasion. 

While we’ll primarily talk about salary negotiation in this article, negotiating can apply to every aspect of your life, both interpersonal and professional. Negotiation is relevant to every part of your life, from compromises with friends and family to dating, starting your own business, hiring employees and contractors, and working with colleagues and supervisors.

Read on to learn more about how Voss suggests you can effectively approach the art of negotiation and come away with everything you wanted (and sometimes even more!).

#1: Negotiating is Constant

Salary negotiation might seem scary or foreign. But negotiation is actually a basic, foundational skill that you use in every part of your life. 

That means that, as Voss explains, you should take the time to develop this crucial skill rather than avoiding it as many people do. Once you’ve got it down, it’ll be like riding a bicycle: You won’t ever forget how to do it, and it’ll feel like muscle memory.

#2: Tone Matters

Many people seem to think that salary negotiation is simply about facts and figures. But emotion matters, according to Voss. Approach your supervisor or HR representative with the right tone, and you’re much likelier to walk away with exactly what you asked for.

If it’s positive, try to match the tone of the person you’re speaking to during a salary negotiation. People love to be “mirrored,” or have their body posture, stance, and even wording imitated. It makes people feel more confident, open, and aligned with the person they’re speaking to. 

On the other hand, if you’re negotiating with someone whose tone is hostile, respond with a softer, gentler tone. This could “reset” even a negative situation and dial it back so you can attempt to negotiate in your favor once again.

#3: Build Trust

When it comes to salary negotiation and any other kind of compromise, Voss says that trust-building is crucial. The relationship between you and the other person needs to be on solid footing if you want your conversation(s) to be effective and productive.

To build trust, Voss suggests that you take your time to really listen to what the other person is saying. Make direct eye contact and uncross your shoulders to encourage them to be vulnerable. Don’t interrupt or talk over them. Repeat back to them some of their same wording and phrasing choices, which is proven to have a positive psychological effect in terms of building trust and bonds.

#4: Take Your Time

During a salary negotiation, Voss explains, it can be tempting to accept whatever offer you’re given too quickly. But taking your time often results in a better outcome. Don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions or say you need more time to make a final decision. Take into account, not just the salary itself, but any benefits that are being offered, and anything that hasn’t yet been discussed.

Taking your time will help your negotiation partner take the conversation as seriously as you do. It will also give you more time to hammer out all the necessary details so you can make sure that nothing is missed.

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