June 1st, 2021

TJ Kastning

Negotiations are nerve-wracking. When it comes time to negotiate a raise with your boss, anxiety may kick into hyperdrive. Time of year and current economic climate doesn’t hold much weight in the matter either. Your raise is strictly about your work performance and what you feel you deserve in compensation for that performance.


Every great raise negotiation follows the same general guidelines. Speaking one-on-one with your boss might not happen too often, so it’s important to have everything planned before the discussion begins. It’s always good to prepare for a few counterpoints as well. 

Here are five easy tips to help prepare you for a proper negotiation:

  • Justify Everything: Before you even mention that you want to speak with your boss, write out all of your accomplishments, especially your recent ones. Any achievements that have directly positively affected the company are even better. A good-faith negotiation relies on justification, not leverage.
  • Perks and Benefits: If there are any specific perks or benefits you want to include in your negotiation, always speak about those first. This will keep them at the forefront of the conversation.
  • Stay flexible: There are lots of ways to elevate your employment terms.
  • Ask How to Make More: It can be difficult to pin down what ‘worth’ means. Asking your employer what their criteria for raises and greater compensation is may make your efforts quite simple.
  • Timing: Consider approaching your boss when you’ve just completed a large project or have a review coming up. Follow good news.
  • Be professional: Understand that most negotiations end in mutual compromise and that you most likely won’t receive 100% of what you ask for. Trust your boss to work with you to get you everything he or she can! Be a good-faith negotiator.

Learning to negotiate with your boss can help you excel in negotiations elsewhere. Specifically, you could be in a management position one day and have to negotiate a raise for one of your employees. 


There are also concrete mistakes that people tend to make during their negotiations that you will want to avoid. 

Some of these mistakes include: 

  • Never take things personally or allow your emotions to cloud your judgment
  • Avoid comparing your performance with others
  • Never give an ultimatum. By the way, bringing a job offer from another company is an ultimatum. It is coercive negotiating.
  • Don’t make it seem like your current position is a problem
  • You’re making a pitch but don’t put on a show
  • A negotiation is a collaboration and requires aligned interests. If you are only focused on your benefit, and not that of the company, your boss, or the team, you will run into far more resistance.

Raise negotiations are a relational art form. You can only plan so much. The flow of the negotiation will take over at some point. Above all, remember to stay present during the negotiation and to listen to what your boss is saying, not what you will say next.