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How Women Can Negotiate for Salary and More

Did you know that Michelle Obama oncebroughtSasha, as a baby, to an interview because she didn’t have a babysitter? True story. She told her future boss: “This is what I have: two small kids. My husband is running for the U.S. Senate. I will not work part-time. I need flexibility. I need a good salary. I need to be able to afford babysitting…I can work hard on a flexible schedule.” Now that is a talented female negotiator and he said yes to everything. She didn’t start that way; she learned the hard way, but you don’t have to. Here are 4 Ways to Negotiate like Michelle.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

In real estate we hear location, location, location. When it comes to salary negotiations for women, it’s preparation, preparation, preparation. This includes research and role play practice. According toHarvard Law School,when womenhave access to upper and lower salary limits, and research the typical salary range in a field, they’re able to capitalize on it and then, to avoid a social backlash, reference these standards during their negotiations.

Once you’ve completed your research, it’s time to practice the negotiation with a trusted confidant that will be tough on you. Why tough? Because the company will be tough too and you need a good practice session to be ready to go into the real negotiation. Men aren’t afraid to negotiate or prepare, neither should you be.

Remember Everything Is Negotiable

Have you accepted the first offer that’s come your way? You’re in good company, so has Michelle Obama. What about only negotiating salary? According to theBureau of Labor Statistics, salary only accounts for 70% of the average employee’s total compensation.

It’s imperative to negotiate for more than merely additional salary (go for that too). If the employer is unable to move on salary, or even if they do and you want more, negotiate for the other 30%. Turn the conversation to non-monetary benefits. These benefits can include additional time off, work from home, coverage for transportation/health benefits/child care, equity, stock options, a review w/promotion and pay consideration in six months and more. Asking for more doesn’t end with your salary, that’s merely the beginning.

Avoid Email, Negotiate via Phone

As a writer Iprefer email to phone; trust me, I’d rather tell you that negotiating via email is the best way to do things. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Email is awful when it comes to conveying important messages and negotiating is one of those.In a negotiation, you needvocal tone, and possibly body language (in-person or video), to soften the assertiveness of the asking for more, especially for women. Women who are assertive suffer a bias against them from the start and need to communicate softer in negotiations.

No one wants to receive a long list of demands via email be it an offer negotiation or otherwise. When you call to discuss your counter-offer via phone, you can deliver your priorities one at a time and gauge each response before moving on to your next ask. You can also adjust your list on-the-fly. I know of several clients that sent an email to negotiate an offer and subsequently had the offer rescinded. That’s a rare, and worst case, scenario but it does happen. Avoid this and set up a time to discuss your counter-offer live via phone.

You Get MorewithSugar than You DowithSpice (Be Nice)

The title here says it all. Here are two easy tips for this one.

Tip #1: Place a mirror next to your phone andnegotiationpaper/email. During your call with the company, look in the mirror and make sure you’re smiling. They will be able to hear your smile, and thus pleasant tone, through the phone. It’s an old sales trick that will now benefit you when you negotiate.

Tip #2: Go for a 10-minute walk 20 minutes before your meeting. Set a timer so you make it back with 10 minutes to prepare for your meeting. This calms your nerves and clears your mind. A calm, organized mind makes for a calm, organized meeting.