Negotiate With Confidence

Don’t just know your worth, know how to sell it. 

iVillage Chief Correspondent Kelly Wallace and I  spoke with Kathie Lee and Hoda  on the TODAY show about a survey iVillage released on women in the workplace. According to the  survey, only 35 percent of the 1,500 women polled online have ever asked for a raise, and less than 20 percent have ever asked for a promotion.

The fact of the matter is, if you don’t ask for what you want, you won’t get it – you have to negotiate. We see this all the time in the workplace. Men expect the raise and ask for it; women keep their nose to the grindstone, hoping their hard work will be recognized and, hopefully, rewarded.

Ladders & iVillage believe in negotiating your worth

By not negotiating, you are setting yourself up to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your career. To Sheryl Sandberg’s point, we have to “lean in” if we want more. Here are a several ways you can set yourself up for successful negotiations.


Do your homework.

If you’re going to negotiate confidently, you need to be prepared. Whether you’re asking for a raise or negotiating a new contract, first gather all the facts. Use resources like and Ladders’ competitive analysis tool, Scout to determine the average compensation range for the role you’re vying for, taking into account the location, industry, and company size.

Know your worth.

What do you bring to the table? Make a list of your major contributions and accomplishments, quantifying them whenever possible. How have you (or will you be able to) cut costs, increase revenue, make things run more efficiently, improve customer satisfaction, etc.? Use this list to remind you of your value and prepare for negotiations.

Leave emotion at the door.

Negotiation is not about one person winning and the other losing. Instead, it is about each party giving a little to keep or get what they want most. It’s business, not personal. If you feel your emotions rising, hold off on negotiating until you can stay cool, calm, and collected. These will breed the fourth “C” – confidence!

Fake it till you make it.

Most executives agree that confidence is essential to being a good leader and strong negotiator. You have to exude self-assurance, even when you feel lost and helpless. Never apologize for negotiating – own it. All too often women apologize when they’ve done nothing wrong and, as a result, they are viewed by men as being weak or lacking conviction. Do not let yourself fall into that trap. Empower yourself.

Negotiation can be learned, but it takes practice. Role play with your partner or a friend, and don’t forget, you negotiate more than you know it. Whether you’re debating who will wash the dishes after dinner or negotiating with your five-year old over bedtime, you’re practicing those skills.

If you’d like more information on negotiation, I recommend picking up a copy of A Women’s Guide to Successful Negotiation , by Lee E. Miller and Jessica Miller, and Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute , by Jack Chapman.