3 Keys for Successful Salary Increase Negotiations

Whether you’re the boss or an employee, at some point you have negotiated or will have to negotiate a salary increase. And for most of us this is a daunting task fraught with stress and uncontrollable and often uncomfortable outcomes. Here are some steps to follow that are sure to make ‘the ask’ easier for both you and the person you are asking.

Remember the acronym ASK:


  • to yourself that you really want this salary increase.
  • Picture what you will do with the extra money.
  • Keep that clear in your mind because this will help you make it real and making it real gives you extra confidence.
  • Another thing to keep in mind as you reflect on whether or not you want to negotiate a higher salary is to really understand the cost of not getting a higher salary.
  • Studies have shown that it can translate to millions of dollars over the course of a career.


  • When will you have the meeting?
  • Set up the meeting with an agenda– be clear that you would like 20 minutes of time to discuss your performance.
  • What will you do if the meeting does not go as planned? Be clear on how you will handle a rejection of your request.
  • Practice, practice, practice! Record/video yourself making your ask. How do you sound? How do you look? Make adjustments to ensure that you come across as confident and poised.

Know your value and give clear examples:

  • On-time projects
  • Projects finished ahead of schedule
  • Collaboration with other departments
  • Leadership roles
  • Learning/mastering a new skill
  • Testimonials from satisfied clients

Negotiation is both a science and an art. Women have some natural skills that can make them excellent negotiators: we are naturally good at building and nurturing relationships. We have great capacity for showing empathy. These attributes can definitely be used to improve your negotiation skills. Being aware of how you approach the negotiation process is key to success. Critically observe yourself compared to your male colleagues: do you look for opportunities to negotiate? Do you make your boss aware of how well you did on a project? Do you step up to leadership roles even if you don’t feel 100% confident that you can take on the challenge? Chances are that your male colleagues are doing these things and advancing– did you know that research shows that men will step into a role if they are 60% confident and that number is 90% for women?

Let’s change that! It starts by making sure you become a skilled negotiator as well as an outstanding employee.

Now it’s your turn, what has worked for you in your career?

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Nancy Allen

Certified WBENC