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What you will learn:

  • How to define and set realistic negotiation goals
  • How to gather the information you need to have the upper hand
  • How to prepare and practice negotiation techniques
  • How to boost your confidence before going into a negotiation
  • How to talk constructively and collaboratively to your manager during the negotiation
  • How to manage awkward silences

About the speaker:

Since launching her career advancement community, Hustle Crew, in autumn 2016, Abadesi Osunsade has helped thousands of 20-somethings from diverse backgrounds land jobs in tech or progress their careers. 

Our favourite quotes: 

  • “You are always negotiating, whether you know it or not. Every conversation you are in is a kind of negotiation.”
  • “If you are uncomfortable with the idea of asking, it is because you have to ask more and more, practice to finally feel comfortable.”
  • “If you’re not failing, what are you learning? If you never fail, you never learn”
  • “Actually women are some of the greatest negotiators in the world, but what’s frustrating is that when we come to the workplace  which has been designed by men, for men, where we’re made to feel less valued, it becomes harder to transfer that skill into work”

1. Prepare

In the preparation phase, you have to think carefully about the following question: What do you want and why do you want it?

Whether you’re asking for a pay raise, you want to change departments, or you’re hoping for more vacation days: you first need to nail down your main motivation.

According to Abadesi, “A big part of the preparation stage is to understand what your North Star is—what’s giving you motivation? Because, when things get tough, that’s what’s going to give you the energy to keep going.”

Some key questions to consider when you're preparing your negotiation:

  • Is what you want realistic?

    For example, if you’re asking for a salary increase, have you done the research on Glassdoor or Payscale to gather evidence of the industry standard pay for your position, to help you come up with a realistic figure.

    Similarly, if there isn’t any precedent within your company (e.g. a certain position does not exist) you can still find a valuable case study from a competitor and use it to help you argue your case.

  • Who’s on the other side of the table?

    It may sound obvious, but never surprise someone with a negotiation. Letting them know beforehand is likely to increase your chances. Secondly, research suggests that a collaborative approach to the conversation is more successful than an adversarial one. So think about your negotiation as a partnership: make it clear that their opinion matters, that you respect them. “Make them feel like they want to support you,” says Abadesi. “And think about what motivates them. People help the people that they like.”

  • Who are the decision makers?

    Even if you manage to convince your manager, they may still need to get approval from higher up the decision-making chain. Understanding the decision-making process helps you manage expectations. That’s why it’s essential to make their life easier by gathering all the information they might need. For instance, if you’re asking for a pay raise, it could be helpful to prepare a document outlining how your responsibilities have changed since you were hired, and why you deserve a raise.

  • What matters to them?

    Don’t make the negotiation only about you—make it about the team and the wider business goals. For instance, instead of arguing that you deserve a raise because your workload has increased, you’re working overtime and you’re constantly stressed, emphasize how you’d like to continue adding value to the company, and mention that the best way to do that is to be compensated according to the market rate. 

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2. Practice

Like any activity, practice makes perfect. That’s why it’s really important to practice your negotiation with a friend or trusted family member. Staging the scene will allow you to anticipate the situation and practice your talking points.

Some key things to consider when practicing your negotiation:

  • Figure out your flash points

List the reasons they might say no, as well as the things they might say that are likely to make you react strongly, such as: “we don’t have the budget for this,” or “we’ve never done this in the past,” or “the timing is wrong”. Anticipating these questions and rehearsing your replies will help you feel calm and confident on the spot.

  • Make a power playlist 

This may seem trivial, but it’s not. Music has a proven ability to boost our confidence. Ahead of a negotiation, you should feel unstoppable, like you can do anything. Yet often our brain gets caught up in insecurity and negative thoughts. That’s why making a power playlist and listening to it before you go into the negotiation can give you that extra confidence boost. 

3. Execute

Last, but definitely not least, there is the execution stage. After all your hard work preparing and practicing your negotiation, the day has come. It’s game time. 

But before you get ahead of yourself, here are the key things you need to keep in mind when heading into your negotiation: 

  • Timing: You’re asking your manager to take time out of a busy schedule to have a potentially difficult conversation, so knowing when to drop the bomb on them is key. If you know your line manager tends to be really busy in the mornings, why not suggest scheduling the meeting in the afternoon?

  • Format: Similarly, you’re going to want to prepare them mentally by sharing an agenda in advance of the meeting. Not only does this show that you’ve thought about your priorities and prepared your talking points—it also helps your manager feel less ambushed and more mentally prepared.

  • Be collaborative: Once you’re in that Zoom meeting or in that office, start the conversation in an approachable and collaborative way. Acknowledge that they are busy, and that you appreciate them taking the time, and mention how happy you are to be a part of the company. Getting off to a good start in terms of voice is essential for a successful outcome.

  • Stay silent: this is a tough one, but important nonetheless. Remember to embrace the awkward silences, and especially not to fill them by speaking. If there is a moment where you are asked a tricky question (e.g. “how much do you want to earn?”) and you answer, directly and without hesitating (e.g “a 100K”) there may be a painful silence to fill. If that happens, don’t budge. Smile and let them do the talking—do not, out of politeness, rush to say, “well 80K is actually also fine”.

It’s not over until you say so: there’s always the possibility that despite your best efforts, you’ll still get a no. If the timing simply isn’t right, that’s fine. Always remember that just because you lost a battle, doesn’t mean the war is over. Just say you’d love to continue the conversation in the next quarter, and ask whether you can revisit the conversation in a few month’s time. You still have power. Never forget that.

This content was created based on a talk during our Bootcamp What I Really Really Want in 2020. 

How can you watch the full replay?

Join 50inTech and get access to over 50 masterclasses hosted by the most influential women of the industry, you will find top tips to boost your career from women in Tech who are breaking the glass ceiling. 

Watch the full replay 👇👇👇 .

Why do we run 6 bootcamps a year?

Whichever way you look at it, we are still a long way removed from parity. There is an 18% pay gap in French tech companies (versus 10% in London, and 5% in the San Francisco Bay Area). And while companies are all too keen on preaching the diversity and inclusion gospel, digital banking giant Revolut can still get away with paying its female C-levels 30% less than their male counterparts.

At 50inTech, we believe it’s high time to change that! First, tech companies need to embrace salary transparency and fair hiring and promotion practices. Secondly, women need to be empowered to succeed in tech, starting with better negotiation training. 

That's why we organized this bootcamp with free masterclasses and mentoring sessions from the best tech leaders.

We already helped 4600+ Women in Tech with our Bootcamps but we're just getting started…


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