By Taunee Besson, CMF, CareerCast.com Senior Columnist
- Eagerly anticipate beginning the negotiation?
- Hate having to negotiate, but sum up your courage and do it anyway?
- Keep quiet, do your work and hope things will eventually take care of themselves?
Negotiating with your company is a difficult thing to do, and people react to the prospect of having to request things from their superiors with varying levels of enthusiasm. But regardless of whether or not you like negotiating, the key is to be sure that when you have to do it, you know how to do it well.
Below is a quick quiz that will test your knowledge on how to enter negotiation with a boss and get what you want at work. Each question is True/False. After the quiz, check our answer sheet below to see how you did, as well as why each of the negotiation questions are important. And don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get all the answers right: negotiating with your company is challenging, and there is a lot of bad information out there that can cause you to fail. But following these tested negotiation strategies will help you get what you want from your boss, without harming your position at your company.
Ready to start the quiz? No peeking at the answers!
Question 1 = True
Negotiating doesn’t come naturally for many of us. If people really loved to enter a struggle to get what they want, they’d all rush over to the nearest car dealership in eager anticipation of getting a great deal. When was the last time you looked forward to haggling with a salesman? There’s a good reason why the percentage of buyers purchasing cars via the internet continues to climb.
Along with our dislike of negotiation, most of us lack a basic understanding of how to do it. Most colleges don’t bother with courses on the art of negotiation, meaning that this fundamental life skill often has to be learned “on the fly.”
Question 2 = False
A “take no prisoners” negotiating approach is still practiced by dictators in third world countries, but it has little relevance in the workplace. Besides the fact that this type of thinking is primitive and self-centered, an “I-win-you-lose” strategy has a very short-term payoff. It may work for car salesmen who never expect to see their customers again, but it’s not viable for employees who are trying to build long-term careers. Losers have long memories, and the tactic will eventually come back to bite you.
Good negotiators work to achieve a collaborative compromise, so that both parties feel like winners. Mutual decisions that respect everyone’s position have a much better chance of producing positive results.
Question 3 = True
When most people think about negotiating, they picture two or more individuals getting together to iron out their differences, or plan a course of action. Yet this scenario is only a part of an overall process. Excellent negotiators understand that negotiating requires frequent and honest communication, so the parties involved always know where they stand. People don’t like surprises unless they’re wrapped in pretty paper. When individuals work together to determine goals, chart progress, put out fires, and share rewards, they are actively engaging in an effective negotiation.
Question 4 = True
A successful negotiating process requires lots of communication. If your manager doesn’t schedule regular meetings with you to set goals, review progress, brainstorm ideas, compliment good work, and suggest specific improvements, you must take the initiative to solicit their feedback. Do this on at least a monthly basis, if not even more often. This way, when it’s time for your performance review, you only have to spend a few minutes discussing outstanding issues, since you’ll both already be aware of them. Instead, you can use the opportunity to talk about your career development and goals for the future – which is more important for your career growth, anyway.
Question 5 = False
The truth is that the most critical piece of information you give your manager during a negotiation why giving you more responsibility will benefit the company. Definitely be prepared to talk about why you can handle (and why you deserve) higher-level work, but know that your boss’s greatest concern is the impact of your request on the company as a whole. Give them a compelling reason to move you up, and your wish for a promotion will likely be granted.
Senior Columnist Taunee Besson, CMF, is president of Career Dimensions, Inc., a consulting firm founded in 1979 that works with individual and corporate clients in career transition, job search, executive coaching, talent management and small business issues. She is an award-winning columnist for CareerJournal.com and a best-selling author of the Wall Street Journal’s books on resumes and cover letters. Her articles on a variety of career issues have appeared on numerous career/job websites and trade and business journals. Ms. Besson has been quoted numerous times in The Wall Street Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Business Week, Time, Smart Money, and a number of other websites and publications.
This article is reprinted by permission from CareerCast.com, © Adicio Inc. All rights reserved.