July 31, 2014 at 9:43 AM ET
Looking to ask for a raise at the office? Career expert Nicole Williams of LinkedIn shares her top tips to prepare for the big request:
Video record a few practice asks: Think of negotiation as a muscle — something that needs to be practiced in order to be strengthened. So much of successful negotiation is about conveying confidence and a big part of that is attached to our non-verbal queues. We often have "tells" that give away our nervousness and work against us.
Speak their language: You need to:
30 days before the raise, start setting yourself up to shine: Come in early, volunteer for assignments, source new business opportunities and set up meetings. Present yourself as an indispensable leader.
Give them a chance to feel like they won: Don’t be afraid to slightly over-ask so that you have some space to concede. If you want a 10 percent raise ask for between 12 and 15.
Do your homework: Have a solid understanding of what others are being paid for the same job. Talk to industry peers in LinkedIn professional groups. These forums are full of professionals happy to give peer-to-peer advice and share insight. Have this information handy, but never throw it in your employers face in the meeting — that will only cause defensiveness on their part and will not accomplish your goal.
Prepare to walk away: Whether this is a stay or go negotiation, do the groundwork that sets you up to go in with the confidence to know if they don't meet your needs you have other options.
Be open to alternative “wins”: Even if you do everything right, there’s a chance that your boss will be unable or unwilling to meet your increased salary requests. The worst thing you can do is say “If I’m not getting a raise I just won’t work as hard.” I love this great advice from LinkedIn influencer Liz Ryan, who suggests alternative wins, like a title change, extra vacation days, or flexibility to work from home.