Photo: Selena Rezvani
Negotiating is tough. But if you want to make it to the top, you must learn how to do it effectively, says career expert and author Selena Rezvani, whose latest book is Pushback: How Smart Women Ask — And Stand Up — For What They Want.Rezvani spoke to LinkedIn employees yesterday about what it means to advocate for yourself. She says there’s a “global apprehension and anxiety over negotiating” and shared the highlights of her speech with us over the phone:
Open assertively. When it comes to a number, people tend to have low expectations and nothing makes that worse than a tough job market. Come up with a number that is the highest number you can rationally defend. Don’t give a range.
It’s important to elongate the conversation before closing the deal. If you can avoid the conversation completely until they love you, do that. Negotiations are so much easier when you have leverage. Wait until you have a good sense of the job and position, and they have a great sense of you and want you. Avoid putting a number in a cover letter if at all possible. If you have to, include a well-researched but aggressive number.
Many people are overly deferential. They say the hardest person to negotiate with is an authority figure, as opposed to someone withholding information. People need to close the gap and really go out of their way to have a conversation with a peer. All it is is a conversation that ends in agreement.
There are things you can do to draw the conversation out to give you more intelligence. Ask expansive questions like, “Can you tell me about your rationale for that?” or “I’d love to hear more about your thinking. Is there a policy that mandates that?” Many people are willing to elaborate. Insist on criteria and don’t accept a flippant “no.”
All too often, if somebody hears “no,” they really take it as a damning conclusion or an endpoint. If there’s anything I’ve learned from executives, it’s that they’ve never been afraid to go back and say, “How about now?” Maybe the timing or the person wasn’t right the first time around. Maybe you need to tweak your pitch a little bit. If you never hear no, you’re not asking for enough.
If we’re honest we’ll never have the most perfect data set. Women in particular need to have a mindset where they round up. They consistently round down. There’s a big difference between the way men and women approach negotiating, and it has an absolutely huge effect on assignments we get and the money we make. Executives have all advocated themselves to the top.
Don’t Miss: 12 Tips On Becoming A Better Negotiator >
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