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How to negotiate a salary offer: learning conversation

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

Most people, particularly professional women, work hard, invest time in building their skills, and strive to make valuable contributions to their organizations. Most of the time they believe that what they are being paid is what they are worth.

However, the reality is that you may be leaving a lot of money on the table that is rightfully yours. And waiting for someone to recognize and reward your value is often a losing game.

If you want to get paid what you're worth, you have to be willing to ask for it.

loudspeaker on a wall

What Holds People Back From Negotiating Their Salary?

Through countless conversations, I have found that for many people, the thought of negotiating their salary can be intimidating. They worry about coming across as pushy, fear that their request will be rejected, or simply don't know how to get started.

reframing negotiations into a learning conversation

The truth is, negotiating your salary doesn't have to be a stressful or anxiety-inducing experience. With the right strategies and mindset, you can approach the conversation with confidence and achieve a successful outcome.

So if you're ready to take control of your earning potential, it's time to learn how to negotiate your salary without anxiety.

If you're feeling anxious about a salary negotiation, a learning conversation can be a powerful tool to help you reframe that anxiety. Instead of seeing the negotiation as a confrontation or a win/lose scenario, a learning conversation encourages you to view the negotiation as an opportunity to understand the other person's perspective and work together to find a solution that benefits everyone.

two women talking across a table in a office space

In a learning conversation, you actively listen to the other person's concerns and interests, ask questions to clarify their position, and share your own perspective in a way that promotes understanding and collaboration. This can help to reduce anxiety by shifting the focus from a power struggle to a dialogue where both parties are working towards a common goal.

Through a learning conversation, you can gain a deeper understanding of the other person's motivations and needs, which can help you to find creative solutions that meet both your needs and theirs. By reframing the negotiation as a learning conversation, you can approach the discussion with a more open and flexible mindset, which can help to reduce anxiety and increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Historical example of a learning conversation

For my readers who are history buffs, in the Camp David Accords in 1978, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin were initially stuck in their positions, with deep-seated mistrust and animosity towards each other. However, President Jimmy Carter who was the mediator, encouraged both leaders to engage in a dialogue where they actively listened to each other's concerns and interests (a learning conversation).

Shortly, when Begin expressed concerns about the security of Israel's borders, Sadat shared his own experience with insecurity. This led to a deeper conversation about the importance of security for both countries and how it could be achieved in a way that satisfied both countries.

The Camp David Accords resulted in a historic peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, which still stands today as a model for successful conflict resolution through active listening, empathy, and mutual learning.

how to negotiate a salary offer using learning conversation

Thankfully, negotiating our salaries is a much simpler process than engaging in multi-country negotiations. To give you an idea of what a salary negotiation discussion could look like, I've included a sample script below.

This example showcases how to negotiate a salary offer using a learning conversation as a tool.

Candidate: Thank you for offering me this position. I'm excited about the opportunity, but I was hoping to discuss the compensation package.

Hiring Manager: Of course, we're open to discussing the compensation package. What were you thinking?

Candidate: Well, I did some research on the market rate for this role, and the salary offer is below the industry average.

Hiring Manager: I see. Can you tell me more about your research and how you arrived at that conclusion? (Learning conversation starts)

Candidate: Yes, I looked at salary data from three different sources, including industry reports and job postings for similar positions. Based on that research, a salary range of $X is more in line with the market rate for this role.

Hiring Manager: That's helpful to know. We did our own research as well and took into account factors such as your experience and qualifications when making the offer. However, we're open to discussing the salary range further. Can you tell me more about your specific needs and what you're looking for in terms of compensation? (Learning conversation continues)

Candidate: Sure. I'm looking for a salary that reflects my experience and expertise, and that also takes into account additional certifications (________) I completed which will enable the project to launch faster.

Hiring Manager: I appreciate you sharing that with me. We want to make sure that we're providing a competitive compensation package that also aligns with your goals and interests.

Let's take some time to review the offer and see if we can find a solution that works for both of us.

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