Here's the best advice I ever got about successfully asking for a raise

Boss meetingMasaIsrael/FlickrFocus on the future.

It’s a new year, and it’s looking bright. If you’re like many professionals, you’re probably thinking about how to approach your employer to finally get the raise you deserve.

I’ve been writing about management and careers for nearly a decade, and I’ve heard all the advice about how to successfully get a raise.

Get the timing right.

Do your research, and know your worth.

Bring a list of specific accomplishments that showcase your value.

While that’s all good advice, the best tip I ever got is a little different. A former mentor of mine told me: The best way to get an employer to invest more in you is to get them excited about your future together.

Instead of dwelling on the past, you’re better off painting a picture of your potential and the future value you’ll bring to the company.

In practice, that means talking about new potential revenue streams, projects you want to launch, and ways to expand your role.

The idea is backed by science. According to research led by Stanford professor Zakary Tormala, high potential can be more appealing to managers than high achievement.

“Uncertain events and outcomes can stimulate greater interest and information processing — more thought — than more certain ones,” Tormala told Insights by Stanford Business.

“When all the available information about a person is positive and compelling,” he said, “imbuing that information with some uncertainty by describing it in terms of potential — ‘This person could become great!’ rather than ‘This person has become great!’ — can get people to attend to the information more and ultimately be more persuaded by it.”

So when you sit down with your boss, go ahead and talk about what you accomplished last year. But then, tell them what you plan to do next. It may make all the difference.

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