The Art of Negotiation

Oh, wouldn’t we all like to be good at this? Well maybe you are! You probably do it daily: your children, teenagers, partner, neighbours or even friends. What are the negotiation techniques you use for these simple everyday decisions and how do they apply to more serious needs? For example, negotiating a starting salary or a pay rise? Believe it or not the techniques and behaviours you need are the same or similar for all circumstances involving negotiation.

Six Negotiating Tips
  1. Know your audience and see it from their side (called empathy). A win – win intent.
  2. Prepare your convincing rationale, sell the benefits of agreeing to your terms. (you can’t do this without first applying number 1)
  3. Communicate honestly and listen carefully.
  4. Be mature and respectful and know from the outset that the other party also wants to win.
  5. Know your grey areas, grounds for some compromise. This should be pre-prepared so you are honest about what is negotiable and what is not.
  6. Avoid last minute surprises when the other party feels the deal is clearly outlined and/or closed. i.e. when everything is on the table you cannot suddenly ask for more.
Negotiating a Starting Salary

Once you are confident that you are in the final stages of accepting a new job, be ready for your salary negotiation. You can often spot if the employer is interested in you even at the interview. E.g. it goes longer than expected, there is a second or third interview, the interviewer starts to talk about conditions, benefits and expectations and finally referees are mentioned.

So, remembering the 6 points above, you would never go to an interview not knowing what your expected salary range is. You will have thought about your personal negotiables and not negotiables in pay and conditions. You will have done some homework on the company, the job and have a realistic expectation of what is possible. Think about what is negotiable besides salary level if that is unable to be changed. It might be flexible working hours, extra leave, relocation costs, bonuses, expenses and so on.

Negotiating a Pay Rise

In this case, you are likely to already have a relationship with the other party, be it your manager, Human Resources, the CEO.

Naturally all other principles above apply but in this case, you have your work performance and outcomes to constitute your request. Selling the benefits of giving you a pay rise, must be very attractive to the employer and company. If they are smart they will know the cost of recruiting and replacing you (statistics say 1.5 times your salary) and if you are demonstrating your worth with sound achievements and statistics to substantiate them, then there is less likely to be resistance.

Remember to step in their shoes and think what is it they need to make this decision. How will they win too? Be the CEO for a moment and build your case to make your offer attractive to her/him.

Need help with this then seek out a coach or mentor? Practise always helps.

About Fran Whittingham

Fran has been career coaching and consulting for 17 years helping people find the right fit for the right job. She has countless stories of people in career transition, square pegs in round holes, and people with their ladders against the wrong wall. Has this ever happened to you? Tell us about your experiences here. Or you can contact Fran at and provide times that suit you for a complimentary 30 min chat.


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