3 Tips for Negotiating Your Salary

Jeff Cochran


Many people avoid asking for higher pay for fear of sounding pushy or entitled. However, if you know your work is valuable to your organization and worth more than you’re receiving, you should be able to argue your case effectively. Remember preparation is the only aspect of a negotiation you can control.

First, you need to know you have a solid case for higher pay. Everyone wants to believe their work is worth more than what they’re paid – but you need to know it before you bring up the subject. Once you do, it’s time to decide how to approach your supervisor.

Pick Your Battles

When you choose to initiate the conversation about your pay is as important as deciding to do it in the first place. Although our emotions shouldn’t affect our performance at work, things rarely play out this way, so you need to assess your superior’s state of mind before broaching the subject.

Typically, the best time to ask for more money is when the company has been doing well for a noticeable amount of time. A small rebound after a slow or difficult season isn’t ideal. Wait until the company is posting gains rapidly or after a particularly good year. Also, never forget that your time spent working for the company is a crucial part of your conversation. A good rule of thumb is to avoid asking for more pay for at least a year in your role, unless you are churning out extraordinary work on a regular basis that’s above and beyond expectations.

Know What You’re Worth

Once you think it’s time to have the talk about more money, you need to check your ammo and understand any precedents. Not only do you need a strong portfolio of work that displays your value as an employee and contributions to the company’s success, you also need to have a figure in mind. Do some research on professionals in your field and find a number that sounds reasonable. If you approach your supervisor with a precise number, you’re more likely to get what you want, as your supervisor will assume you’ve done your homework and know your value.

Special Tips for On-boarding

Salary negotiations are a bit easier when you have history with a company. Things get a bit trickier when you’re negotiating a starting salary during the interview and on-boarding process. Keep the following tips in mind for negotiating your starting salary:

• Let the interviewer bring up money first. Once the salary talk begins, never be the first to name a number. Let the interviewer give you a starting point and you’ll be in the power position once negotiations start. If you offer a number first, you run the risk of low-balling yourself with what you consider a lofty figure when the company was prepared to offer more.

• Know your value and aim high, just don’t be surprised if you are shot down. As long as you demonstrate value, the company will recognize your value. If it doesn’t, you may be better off looking elsewhere.

• Don’t bring up your salary at your previous job. This isn’t a benchmark and it’s not a great figure to reference when you’re joining a new company.



3 Reasons Interviews Fail and How to Avoid Them

Jeff Cochran


Despite our technologically-driven world, face to face interviews remain a key component of any negotiation. Whether you’re a prospective employee netting your first interview or a seasoned professional negotiating with an important client, interview skills are paramount. But sometimes interviews fail, and you may be bewildered as to why. Today, we’ll discuss the top reasons you didn’t ace your interview and how to avoid them in the future.

Reason 1: Rudeness

Hopefully, most of us wouldn’t walk into an interview or negotiation and make snide comments about the interviewer or stick our feet on the desk. However, there are subtle examples of rudeness that are just as harmful. For instance, you should avoid blunt, impertinent questions.

If you left your last job due to low pay, don’t start the question-and-answer session with, “How long would it be before I got a raise?” If you’ve heard the client you’re negotiating with had an EEOC complaint filed against him, don’t ask about it. He won’t answer, and he’ll assume you think the worst of everyone you meet. Additionally, don’t do small, potentially rude things such as drumming your fingernails on the chair arm.

Reason 2: Lies

If your resume says you worked for your last company for a year, but you tell the interviewer it was eight months, he or she will assume you’re lying. Most interviewers can also spot resume padding a mile away, so don’t claim you’re proficient in French because you made an A in French II senior year of college.

Additionally, don’t fib to make the employer feel good; for example, don’t say you’ll accept a certain salary when you really need more. Employers respect people who are open. Double-check your resume for any inconsistencies, no matter how small. Be assertive – but not aggressive – in negotiations, and offer to explain anything the interviewer has questions about.

Reason 3: Cluelessness

Few things irritate an employer or client more than an interviewee who doesn’t know much about the job or company. Do plenty of research before the interview, even if you won’t be working with this client long or the job is an entry-level position. Ask company-specific questions such as, “Does your special education program embrace full or partial inclusion?” If you don’t do your homework, it sends the message you don’t care and would prefer not to work with the company or client. In this case, you will not get the job or deal.

Beating the Fear of Public Speaking

Jeff Cochran


For some people, having to speak in public is the most feared situation on earth, second only to death. Many people experience panic attacks during public speaking that make them feel like they’re actually dying. A phobia of public speaking can derail a negotiation, but it doesn’t have to. If you fear public speaking, read on. We’ve outlined some key ways to help you conquer that fear.

You’re Not Your Fear

Public speaking debilitates people because they equate it with personal self-worth. Their thought process is, “Because I can’t speak well, I don’t deserve to be considered a competent professional.” This is one of the biggest lies you can tell yourself. If your company has asked you to speak in public, it’s because they know you’re competent and intelligent. Don’t get hung up on perfection. Relax and remind yourself of your positive traits. Tell yourself, “I can do this.”

Don’t Memorize or Read off the Page

Most professionals feel pressure to memorize speeches, which compounds their nervousness. To alleviate pressure, don’t memorize every word. Instead, commit only key points to memory. On the other hand, resist the urge to read directly from notes. The audience can tell what you’re doing, and they’ll quickly get bored and won’t remember what you’ve said. Bring a few index cards or a single sheet with important notes. Glance at it as needed, but let the speech flow.

Get Personal

The best speakers tell stories rather than simply conveying information. When possible, start your speech with a relevant anecdote. This approach will help the audience warm to you. Use your sense of humor; a well-placed joke will help plant information in the audience’s head. Additionally, using the personal stories and details you know best will help you relax and have fun.

Use Support 

Like other phobias, the fear of public speaking can be intimidating when people try to deal with it alone. They won’t share their fears with family or coworkers because they think fear indicates incompetence. In reality, even your most put-together mentors have probably been where you are. Be honest about your fear and seek support. Ask trusted people to help you practice for the speech. When the big moment comes, picture the audience full of supportive, familiar faces to remind you your listeners are rooting for you. If your fear is particularly debilitating, there is no shame in seeking short-term counseling; ask human resources for recommendations.