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

9. Emphasize gratitude, enthusiasm, and value.

All of the experts agree that a negotiation is not an egocentric meeting—you should spend time emphasizing what you bring to the company. “There’s no ‘me, me, me,’” Harris says. Your manager would rather hear how you contribute to the company. “It’s so much more economical to retain great talent than to have to lose somebody and start recruiting from scratch,” Harris says. Remind them why you’re not only worth keeping around, but worth rewarding.

10. Outline your accomplishments.

When you talk to anyone about numbers—be it your boss or human resources—you need to be prepared to answer the question, “Why now?” Outline accomplishments and projects that showcase your direct value. “They don’t really care that you can’t pay your cable bill,” Ruettimann says. “You need to be able to make a strong business case that retaining and promoting you is important to the business.”

11. Know your strengths and weaknesses.

The best negotiators are self-aware. They understand where they excel in the company, as well as areas they need to improve in, Ruettimann says. Not only that, but they also have “a plan of action for addressing their deficiencies.” Everyone is flawed, but if you’re routinely checking in on your performance and improving upon those weaknesses, your manager will remember that during a compensation review.

12. Know when to be silent.

After you present the number or range, sit back and don’t say anything, Harris says. “Too many times, people start trying to fill that silence and end up double-talking or apologizing for asking, and that just weakens your message,” she says. Ask for what you want, and then wait for your answer. A clear and direct approach goes a long way.

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