How to successfully ask for a raise
Successfully asking for a raise

Whether it’s your first time or your fifth, asking for a raise is hard. Unfortunately, it’s also something you’ll have to do repeatedly throughout your career. As we get older, the stakes get higher, which means there’s often more on the line – win or lose. The good news is, there are certain tactics that will (and a few that won’t) help you get what you ask for. Here are five tips to help you nail your negotiations:

1. Come Prepared

Many of us make the mistake of assuming our efforts, results, and winning personality are self-evident and top of mind to those around us. No one knows better than you do why you deserve a raise, so before you make your pitch, prepare a case the same way you would any big move, purchase, or strategy. Start with an honest evaluation of your objective chances of receiving a raise, and be clear on the reasons you think you deserve one. Are you operating at a higher level than your peers? Performing tasks or jobs that no one else in the company can? Are you bringing more to the table now than you were when you were first hired? Be your own advocate and come ready with reasoning and results relevant to your audience. Don’t assume your boss will be aware of (or remember) each of your wins, or all of the ways you add value to the team. Bring examples and proof of how you’ve moved the company forward in meaningful and measurable ways.

2. The “Power Pose” Isn’t as Powerful as You Think

Despite being the second most-watched TED Talk ever, the Power Pose theory (the suggestion that making your body more expansive by standing in a posture of confidence will increase your chances of successful negotiations - like asking for a raise) is coming under increased scrutiny, with new research showing that physical expansion poses made no difference in business negotiations. New research published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science found no evidence that making yourself physically expansive during negotiations matters.

While there’s no question that body language plays an important role in how others evaluate your personality (and in some cases, capability), there’s little evidence to support the idea that a specific “Power Pose” will influence the outcome of business negotiations, which rely primarily on factors unrelated to physical appearance or positions. Using your emotional intelligence to read the room and maintain a positive and constructive conversation is a better use of your energy than adhering to a prescriptive pose.

3. Leave Your Emotions At The Door

We invest so much of ourselves into our work, it’s easy to take it personally if we’re not recognized as we feel we should be – but if you’re going to ask for a raise, be ready to accept any outcome like the professional you are.

Being denied a raise doesn’t mean you don’t deserve one. There are a variety of reasons your company might not be in a place to adjust your salary for reasons that have nothing to do with you. If you don’t get what you ask for, you’re not necessarily leaving empty-handed. Take a ‘no’ as an opportunity to set yourself up for a future ‘yes’ by getting a clear commitment on what it would take (including company circumstances) to be awarded what you feel you deserve. Then you’ll have all the information you’ll need to decide if you’re willing to ride it out.

4. Set The Mood

Timing is everything, and context can play a huge role in a successful request. There are lots of factors to consider and many outside your immediate control. Is the company in good financial health? Is the year’s budget set? Are there competing operational priorities? Before you make the pitch, do your due diligence to make sure your company can afford to accommodate your request.

Secondly, set the right mood. While it can be easier to take a conversational tone or bring up the issue informally, this is a business transaction, not a personal favour, and should be treated accordingly. Show you’re taking yourself seriously by creating an environment that gives you the time and space to make your case.

Finally, use your best judgement to pick the right time. Is your boss in a good mood? Are you fresh off of a successful project or a significant milestone? Even small details can work together in your favour and provide the right environment for your boss to be receptive to your request.

5. Show Enthusiasm

Asking for a raise is stressful. Having to justify your worth can sometimes put you on the defensive and inadvertently creating a negative or adversarial vibe. In order to build more support for yourself, try and make the experience as positive as possible – not just for you, but your boss too. You’ll both appreciate it.

Be proud of the value you bring to the company and enjoy the opportunity to promote your achievements and success. Make it known that you’re invested in helping the company continue to succeed and excited to continue the journey together. Regardless of the outcome, leave on a good note. Whether you succeed or not, stay or go, you’ll be remembered for the way you handled the request.

Amanda Ashford is a Brand & Communications consultant building brands with purpose and using business as a force for good. As a global traveller, Amanda is constantly inspired by the sounds, scenes and stories found around the world, and our shared passion for purpose that connects us all.

Amanda Ashford is a paid spokesperson of Sonnet Insurance.
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