Talking about money can be tricky, even for the most experienced negotiators out there.
Getting a pay rise takes interpersonal skills, sensitivity, and timing. One wrong move and you'll be turned down. And who knows how long it'll be until the next opportunity?
Here are the 3 steps you need to take to master the art of securing the financial reward you deserve.
1. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
You should think of soft skills as a muscle - you don't just acquire them overnight, your need to work at it before it becomes the strongest it's going to be.
Being assertive or a good negotiator, for example, takes practice. You just need to build that muscle up over time until it's ready to be deployed to maximum effect.
Try negotiating small discounts wherever you go, whether it's in a cafe or a clothes shop - you'll soon get used to handling this potentially awkward situation with ease. Before you know it, you'll be able to tackle the issue of a pay rise with confidence!
2. Prepare for the conversation in the right way.
"Failing to prepare is preparing to fail" is a great mantra, but it's important to think about exactly how you prepare.
For example, preparing and memorising an entire 2-minute elevator pitch in full on why you deserve more money may seem like a great idea, but it can be very inflexible for when you actually get into the real life meeting situation.
Just remember your key points, and enter the meeting with an open mind on how it's going to go. Your manager could want you to list five of your achievements that have added real value to the business, or they may want to talk in more depth about what's provoked you to ask for a pay rise in the first place - be prepared to be flexible!
3. Think about timing.
It may seem obvious, but you should always think about the business' wider context in which you're asking for a pay rise.
Do you know if the business is facing budget cuts? Has it been a tough year for revenue? Sometimes your timing can just be down to good luck, but most of the time it pays to be aware of what's going on around you.
Broadly speaking, it might be good to bear in mind when the traditionally good times to ask for more money are. Data from LinkedIn tells us that, globally, January, July and September are the months in which professionals get the most pay rises.