Everyday life is all about bargaining and negotiating to get what you want or need. Whether at work, school, or home, you will always find a time of day where you will need to rely on your best negotiating skills, especially if you are trying to get ahead or make a point.  
When asking for a salary increase, your negotiating skills need to be developed, sharpened, and communicated in a professional manner.  One of these skills is showing confidence in your request and approach.  If you are lacking confidence when you ask for an increase, your boss may see that you also may lack confidence in showing that your work is worth getting a raise. 
To truly show confidence in your negotiations, you must be prepared.  Before you sit down in front of your boss to negotiate a new salary or benefits (i.e. and extra week of vacation each year), consider the following:

  •  Define your goals before you start the negotiating process. What is the highest/lowest monetary amount you are willing to accept? If you can’t get an extra week of vacation, would you settle for 2-3 days of additional vacation time?
  • What have you prepared to prove your worth/point? Do you have quantitative examples of your achievements in your current position?
  • Have you practiced HOW you will ask for a raise or enhancement to your benefits package? What is your introduction to the situation going to be? Create an agenda for your conversation and use strong keywords that will make a point. Try to prepare for any objections or questions that your boss may fire back at you and come up with concrete answers to prove your point(s).
  • Don’t only practice your words. During negotiations of any type, your body language is also important. Are you able to keep your language in check if the discussion grows heated?  While eye contact is a great tool, staring down your boss with a scowling face to get what you want is not.  
  • What is your stopping point? How long will you fight before you know your request is a lost cause?
  • Are you prepared for the fallout if your boss denies all of your requests?  Are you okay with just going back to your to your office and continuing on with no extras?  Will you threaten to look elsewhere for employment, and if so, will you be prepared if your boss encourages you to take your career elsewhere effective immediately?

The bottom line is that you need to be prepared before you enter into any type of negotiations at home, with your supervisor, or with a colleague or client. Successful negotiations aren’t just about getting what you want, but more about building stronger relationships and having the confidence to ask for what you deserve and/or are worth. If you’re able to get some or all of what you asked for, well…that’s a bonus!