Phylicia Rashad said it best: “Women ARE power” by design. We run boardrooms, our households, and successful businesses. Yet, studies show that we struggle when it comes to negotiating compensation and getting paid what we’re really worth. In turn, we miss out on thousands of dollars, bonuses, and company perks.
Men, on the other hand, are more confident and effective when it comes to seeking what they want at the negotiation table. They are also quicker to turn down an offer they don’t like and even get insulted if presented with an offer they feel doesn’t value their worth. The only time women negotiate as well as men is when they are advocating for someone other than themselves.
During the Women of Power Summit, a panel of four experts addressed this issue while leading a master class in the art of negotiation. This armed attendees with the tools they need to properly assess their worth and seek it effectively.
Here are 10 tips that were shared by Matrice Ellis-Kirk (RSR Partners), Donna Fielding (ADP), Dr. Ashleigh Rosette (Duke University), and Becky A. Davis (MVPwork LLC).[Image: Matrice Ellis-Kirk, Managing Director, RSR Partners; Donna Fielding, Division Vice President, Human Resources, ADP; Dr. Ashleigh Rosette, Associate Professor, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University; and Becky A. Davis, President & CEO, MVPwork LLC]
- Don’t be afraid to ask. Rule No. 1: Don’t be afraid to negotiate and make your minimum base offer very clear. Be mindful that companies actually expect you to give a counteroffer, so be prepared to tell them exactly what you want and deserve instead of accepting their first offer.
- Everything is negotiable. Even if you are presented with an initial salary for a job position this does not mean that you cannot or should not push for a higher salary, a bonus, or perks.
- Define and prepare your value system. Base salary is just one part of an employment package. Other items to consider during the negotiation include the option to work remotely, the number of hours you’ll spend working each week, performance expectations, benefits, and opportunities for promotion. Once you have a value system, be prepared to frame it accurately.
- Prepare as much as possible. In addition to researching the market base value for your position, consider the other party’s perspective and try to figure out how they might respond. Thinking about their perspective can increase your confidence.
- Negotiating is a skill that needs to be practiced and developed. After you do all of your homework, practice your negotiating skills with a friend who can give you a both a negative and positive response. This way, you’ll be prepared for both scenarios.
- Know the difference between a salary and job offer. Maybe the company can’t move on salary, but they can move on your bonus or other perks.
- Don’t take it personally. A negotiation is not about you. Rather, it’s about the value of the role that you’re taking on. Remember, this is business, so you should put your emotions aside during the conversation. As stated during the session, “depersonalizing it places you in a position of strength, versus weakness.”
- Don’t fill the silence. Hearing silence during a negotiation can feel uncomfortable and tempt you to continue talking. However, you may end up actually negotiating against yourself. Instead of filling the silence, put your offer on the table and wait for the other party to respond no matter how long it takes.
- Be confident. If you feel anxiety about negotiating even after doing all of your homework, then take some time to reflect and figure out where and why you lack confidence.
- Don’t be afraid to walk away. If the company is not willing to give you what you’re worth, then walk away. Don’t compromise your integrity and self-worth, especially if you don’t have to.
Selena Hill is the Associate Digital Editor at Black Enterprise and the founder of Let Your Voice Be Heard! Radio. You can hear Hill and her team talk millennial politics and social issues every Sunday at 11 a.m. ET.
Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @MsSelenaHill.