Negotiation Skills for Women: Tips for Assertive and Effective Communication

Today, professional women require tremendous business acumen to advance salaries and receive opportunities, starting with becoming a solid negotiationer. This guide offers practical tips, strategies, and insights to help women navigate negotiations with confidence, assertiveness, and strategic finesse. By honing their skills, we can shatter glass ceilings, challenge systemic barriers, and pave the way for greater gender equality and empowerment in the workplace.

The Benefits of Negotiating 

Don’t leave money on the table! A recent study showed that 61% of women surveyed did not ask for higher pay during the hiring process, and 42% of women didn’t even feel comfortable asking. Negotiating is the key to getting what you deserve, and there are many more benefits than equal pay. To name a few:

  • Increases promotional opportunities for career advancement
  • Strengthens communication skills when navigating difficult conversations
  • Improves confidence in yourself
  • Hones problem-solving skills to find mutually acceptable solutions
  • Builds trust with higher management 
  • Maximizes employee resources 

How to Negotiate a Salary

One of the most common uses of negotiation is for a salary increase. Let’s break down each step and offer practical strategies you can try today!

Research and Prepare

Knowing your industry standards is vital information when negotiating salaries. If your compensation is below the average, you can leverage it as evidence. Besides benchmarks, prepare a list of reasons you can refer to with specific, numerical examples that will help guide your negotiation. Once you have your ducks in a row, it’s time to schedule a meeting!

Wait for the Right Moment

When negotiating a salary for a new job, it can be easier to identify the right moment. However, it can be difficult for current employees to find the right time to bring up compensation. Some suggested times are during performance reviews or future career discussions. You can also take the initiative to set up a meeting dedicated to your salary.  

Make Your Case

If you’re not comfortable going off the cuff, you can practice what you say with a script. Write down how you’d like to articulate your accomplishments and your gratitude for the opportunities you had. Practice it as much as possible so you appear confident during the meeting. Even if you are nervous, try to stay cool, calm, and collected as you make your case. 

Be Firm but Flexible 

You may leave the meeting with everything you desire, but there’s a chance you may not receive the exact amount. Take time to think of a range for your new salary. What is the absolute lowest, and what is the dream salary? Knowing your boundaries can help you be flexible but firm during negotiations. 

Follow Up and Document

Ensure you document the details in writing, including the agreed-upon salary, start date, and other relevant provisions. Also, follow up with a thank-you email reiterating your appreciation for the opportunity and confirming the terms discussed.

Example of a Salary Negotiation Statement

“As I reflect on my contributions and accomplishments over the past [insert time], I am proud of the work we’ve accomplished together. I’ve had the opportunity to [highlight specific achievements, projects, or responsibilities]. These experiences have expanded my skill set and reinforced my commitment to our team’s mission and goals.

With this in mind, I would like to discuss the possibility of a salary increase. As I’ve taken on additional responsibilities and consistently exceeded performance expectations, I believe a salary adjustment would reflect my increased contribution to the team and align with market standards for professionals in similar roles.

Based on my research and conversations with industry peers, I believe a salary increase of [proposed percentage or amount] would be commensurate with my skills, experience, and the value I bring to the organization.”

How to Negotiate a Promotion

Negotiating a promotion to a higher position requires careful preparation, effective communication, and strategic negotiation skills. 

Research the Position

Open managerial positions or higher are not always available. When you take the time to research beforehand, you know the opportunity is available, and the responsibilities included. Don’t forget to research the industry standard salary as well.

Assess Your Qualifications

Reflect on your achievements, contributions, and leadership skills that make you the perfect fit for the promotion. You might not tick every box, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s better to reach for what you want than watch someone else take it. If you are missing some qualifications, consider the stretch opportunities you can do to demonstrate your ability. For instance, if you do not have experience leading a team, become a mentor to indicate your readiness to support others professionally.

Make Your Case

Now it’s time to schedule a meeting and make your case! Choose an appropriate time for you and your supervisor to have a focused and uninterrupted conversation about your career goals and aspirations. Communicate your genuine interest in the higher position and your commitment to the organization’s goals and objectives. Emphasize your long-term commitment to the organization and your willingness to take on new challenges and opportunities for growth.

Be Open to Feedback

Listen to your supervisor’s feedback and be open to suggestions for improvement or development. You can demonstrate your willingness to address any concerns or skill gaps through educational courses, certification tracks, or other professional development opportunities you plan to take. 

Follow Up

After the meeting, send a follow-up email thanking your supervisor for the opportunity to discuss the promotion and summarizing the key points and agreements reached during the conversation. Confirm any next steps or actions that need to formalize the promotion process.

Negotiation Tips for Experienced Professionals

Experienced women in any industry come to the table with a comprehensive resume, experience, and references. You likely have an established personal brand and executive presence. Yet, your notable accomplishments are not always clearly related to the promotion. For instance, draw a clear connection to how your past experiences can improve efficiency, reduce cost, or bring in new business that increases profit and makes you valuable. Don’t hesitate to run the numbers in a negotiation.

Negotiation Tips for Entry-Level Professionals 

Industry newcomers face a tougher road to high salaries and promotions. You won’t have experience to lean on, but that does not mean you can’t leverage yourself for more. The courses you take and the academic achievements you earn can relate to daily tasks in professional spaces. Plus, your passion and confidence will be recognized if you embrace your weaknesses as opportunities for growth. 

As we conclude our exploration of negotiation skills for women, it becomes abundantly clear that assertive and effective communication is not merely a tool for personal advancement but a catalyst for societal change and empowerment. Women who can navigate negotiations with confidence, poise, and grace, ultimately reshape workplace dynamics. 

Become a Trailblazer with IAW

If you want to continue growing as a leader, you can do it with the support of industry-leading women globally. No matter what field, the International Association of Women (IAW) brings professionals together to share their tips on the trade and empower each other to reach new heights. Join our community today and find mentors, resources, weekly webinars, networking events, and more!

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