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How to Keep Your Sanity While Negotiating a Pay Raise

Asking your boss for more money is always nerve-racking. It can be even more difficult for women, who often get labeled as "pushy" or "aggressive" for doing things that would be described as "assertive" if a man did them. Julie Shen from Scotwork, a company that offers negotiation training, has some tips on how to get the raise you want.

Prepare, prepare, prepare

Negotiations can sometimes come down to a test of wills. If you find yourself surprised by a question, it can throw you off your game and give the other side the upper hand. "Prepare, be specific, know your priorities and know your limits," Shen said. "You must prepare, if you're unprepared you're going to accept something that is less than what you deserve and how you value yourself."

Use Your Street Smarts

Whether it's convincing your kids to brush their teeth or talking your way into a discount at a store while shopping, negotiation is a part of everyone's day-to-day routine. Remembering the strategies you use in everyday life can help you stay in your comfort zone while negotiating at work. "If you think about negotiating, it's not about the formal," Shen said. "We negotiate every single day, personally, professionally."

Take the Other Side's View

If you consider what your boss may want out of the negotiation, you might come to realize there are things you don't mind giving them in order to get what you want. A good negotiation should be a transaction, not a zero-sum game. "It's about 'if you're willing to do this for me, I'm more than happy to do that for you.'" Shen said. "Think about it as a trading opportunity"

Be Assertive, But Reasonable

"[Women] are always concerned about coming across too aggressive and too pushy," Shen said. "It's about language. It's about tone. But it is absolutely about making the first proposal, and knowing that it's reasonable, knowing that you're creating a proposal that both sides want."

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