As many professionals set out to look for new job opportunities in this post-pandemic job market it may seem counterintuitive to work on sharpening your negotiation skills. After all, isn’t it presumptuous to try to negotiate a better compensation package in this challenging environment? To this I respond: Absolutely not! As a professional, you must always remember that the only time you will ever have power over a future employer is before you accept the job offer. No matter the business climate, the employer will take back all control once you have accepted the offer, leaving you no room for future negotiation.
So why don’t many professionals negotiate their salary upfront? Many say they’re uncomfortable talking about pay.
The only way to combat this fear is by making a point to engage in more negotiation opportunities throughout your career. A good place to start is to empower yourself not only with information but also with confidence. To be successful in your efforts, you need to better understand the negotiation foundation and build on that in reference to your own career path, desires, and goals.
This negotiation process can be used for anything — not just your job search. Follow these steps in order, and you’re sure to receive positive outcomes in return:
- Pre-negotiation: This step comes before any interaction takes place among the respective parties. Focus on determining the other party’s perspective and point of view to start preparing your argument so that you can answer for any pain points or concerns. If you don’t have a clue how to figure these out, then it’s time to reach out to others in your network. The answers you receive will assist you in determining different ways to reach an agreement and formulate a favorable outcome for both parties.
- Opening: This is the first step where the interaction begins. Normally, we are anxious about negotiating, and we simply jump into discussing what we want. That approach is not helpful and creates an us-versus-them dynamic that prevents a mutually beneficial agreement from being made. Instead, take the time to identify an agenda, determine guidelines on how to conduct the negotiation, and identify the decision-making process and timeline. This approach might sound tedious, but it reaps cascading benefits in the long run, since all involved are aware of the process and what lies ahead.
- Information Sharing: Now is your time to share what you know while asking for input and knowledge from the other party. This should be an open and honest conversation. Put your cards on the table to come to an agreement that benefits both parties.
- Problem Solving: Successfully sharing information leads to more effective problem-solving engagement. During this time, both parties can share their respective solutions based on the information gathered and work toward reaching some sort of compromise.
- Agreement: By getting to this final step, you are ready to formalize the agreement between the parties and the outside world. It’s best to put all agreements in writing and communicate them to others. This way if doubts emerge later, there is an agreement to reference.
The best negotiations occur when the parties flow seamlessly between all steps.
Normally large agreements, like a promotion and compensation increase, aren’t reached and determined in one negotiation session. Instead, parties must work on reaching small, incremental agreements that will get them to an agreement on the larger issue at-hand. By working through small agreements, parties are able to build a level of trust that will keep all engaged until the end.
Are you in the midst of a negotiation and could use some guidance? Click here to learn about my negotiation coaching services!