Negotiation is a key skill for any professional. Whether you’re discussing salary or an upcoming deadline, it’s your responsibility to advocate for what you need.
Otherwise, you may find yourself perpetually facing the short-end of the stick…under-earning, struggling to meet unrealistic expectations and more.
Unfortunately, for many people, the mere thought of negotiation sends chills down the spine. It feels like a dirty word—one that conjures up images of used car salesmen and aggressive back and forth games.
If negotiation is a struggle for you, have no fear. A few simple mindset shifts can transform the way you approach it and make it easier, even in the toughest situations.
Old Mindset: Negotiation is ungrateful and rude
New Mindset: Negotiation is expected
In the workplace, people anticipate a certain amount of negotiation. That doesn’t mean they can always bend to give you exactly what you want, but they often have some built-in wiggle room.
When discussing salary for a new job, for example, most hiring managers understand that there may be some back and forth. They’re prepared for the discussion and won’t think any less of you for initiating it. They don’t see it as a signal that you’re greedy; they simply acknowledge it as part of the process.
When discussing deadlines, for example, most people understandably will push for whatever makes their own life easiest. But they also usually realize that others are juggling a variety of priorities. So, they understand that there may be some negotiation to find something that works for everyone.
These kinds of discussions aren’t unusual. In fact, when people don’t negotiate, it can be surprising, and some view it as an indication that you’re not interested in standing up for yourself. That can set a bad precedent for the future.
Old Mindset: Negotiation is a power play or a fight
New Mindset: Negotiation is not a win/lose proposition
Negotiation isn’t about “fighting” to get what you want. The goal is not to win some argument. It’s about finding a solution that everyone feels good about. Compromise is usually the name of the game. Each side concedes a bit to make the situation work for all involved.
By launching a negotiation, you’re not inviting a contentious debate. You’re merely opening up a solution-focused discussion. Keep your language and approach aligned with this concept to help make sure the other party understands your intentions.
Old Mindset: I don’t deserve to make requests like this
New Mindset: I deserve to negotiate for my needs
Everyone has the right to negotiate for what they want and need in the workplace. As long as you do so professionally and respectfully, there’s no harm in at least giving it a shot. You might think you’re supposed to simply accept what is given without question, but that’s just not the case. You can always ask for something different. Likewise, others can always decline your request. But failing to even ask is a disservice to yourself. You are valuable and you deserve to be heard.
Whenever you’re about to approach a negotiation, remind yourself of these new mindsets. Give yourself permission to be a strong advocate for your own needs and wants; no one else is going to do it for you. Recognize that negotiation is a normal—and necessary—part of business.