The 12 Keys to Negotiating Your Salary, Explained by Career Experts

5. Remember: timing is everything.

“It’s very difficult to negotiate your salary off of the performance management cycle,” Ruettimann says. This means you should typically wait until review time to bring up the conversation, because that’s when employers and companies are most prepared to discuss compensation. However, it’s smart to preempt the conversation by checking in with your boss a month or so ahead of time for an “impromptu performance review,” says Harris, so you can asses your strengths and weaknesses, and ask how you can improve and grow in your position.

6. Give your boss time to prepare.

“The surprise factor is never good,” Harris says. Always give your employer notice that you want to discuss compensation. You don’t need to explicitly call it a meeting about salary negotiation—just asking to discuss your role in the company will tip your boss off that you’ll likely talk money.

7. Practice your delivery.

Whether you outline it beforehand, read it in a mirror, or practice with a friend, make sure you’re comfortable with your talking points (yes, you need talking points). Laschever recommends asking a friend to role play the conversation, because a friend can offer feedback on your speech and body language—you might not realize you tend to shake your leg, tap your fingers on the desk, or gaze off into the distance when you’re thinking about a question.

8. Walk into the room with a positive attitude.

“Cheerfulness is infectious, it’s catching,” Laschever says. Right before the discussion, do something that puts you in a good mood and calms your nerves.

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