Negotiations Don'ts

Negotiations Don'ts

December 14, 2016
Annette Maggi
Human ResourcesCareer DevelopmentBusiness Skills

by RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

Now that you've had time to review the 2016 RDBA Salary Survey, you may be considering next steps to ensure your compensation package is competitive in the industry. As you do so, consider these articles previously published in RDBA Weekly:

RDBA Salary Survey: What Actions Should You Take 

Concerned about Your Salary? Don't Fret! Get Your Mind Ready to Negotiate

Tips for Effective Salary Negotiations 

As you work to master your skill at negotiations, whether it be salary, benefits, partnership deals, or added headcount, consider these "what not to do" tips as well:

  1. Don't be emotional. Let enough time pass between getting information that may frustrate you and the time of the meeting when you being your negotiations so you are rational and logical. Raw emotions never produce good agreements, and you want a clear mind going into negotiations.
  2. Don't give a presentation. Your goal in the initial phases of negotiation are to get information from your manager or human resource contact. Talk as little as possible. Ask questions about your position, how "grading" it was determined, other roles in the company with similar levels of responsibility, and future needs and objectives. Gathering information will help you be more effective in negotiating what you believe you deserve.  
  3. Don't believe your primary mission is to secure a better compensation package. Throughout the negotiations, your goal is to help your employer understand that giving you the raise, promotion, bonus, or other benefits will help their business.  
  4. Don't approach the topic as a complaint. While the 2016 RDBA Salary Survey may provide you with insight on areas where your compensation could be improved to align with your experience level and responsibilities, don't present this as a problem. Instead, present yourself and your role as a solution to challenges the company currently faces.  
  5. Don't ask yes or no questions. Asking open ended questions will help you gather better insight and will also create a more conversational tone during negotiation meetings. If you get to a stage of negotiations where your manager indicates no compensation changes will be made, avoid assuming this is a firm "no" by seeking to understand what it will take to secure the requested change. Are there additional skills that need to be gained or showcased?  More leadership roles on projects?  
  6. Don't be cocky or greedy. If you've only been in your position for a year or two, expecting a hefty raise or other benefits may be unrealistic unless you really, truly outdid yourself in your role. Going into negotiations with a sense of entitlement may prevent you from negotiating any type of increase in your comp package.
  7. Don't give an ultimatum. While your frustration may be high enough for you to say "well then, I'll find a new job," this may not really be your ultimate goal.  Ultimatums are hard to take back and suggest your emotions are taking over in the negotiations. They can also put your manager on the defensive, and change the nature of your relationship moving forward. Stay focused on how you can contribute to the company and department's goals, and how you positively contribute to them.

Being calm, staying in the moment, controlling your emotions, asking pointed questions and listening carefully to your boss's responses will help you stay focused on what you can control in any negotiation.