The wage gap costs women – it costs women today and it costs us long term. It is a major hurdle we need to overcome as we work to achieve a lifetime of financial independence. While we could sit back and wait for society to catch up, we could also choose to be proactive. Being proactive means effectively communicating your worth and navigating difficult conversations. Here are 5 tips to properly prepare and set yourself up for successful financial conversations:
- Your Mindset – Many times we want to avoid difficult or uncomfortable conversations and money can be one of those topics that intimidates us. You need to get over it. This is about your financial security and you need to know that you are worth it. There is no shame in respectfully standing up for yourself and voicing your expectations. In fact, we make it harder for others to meet our expectations if we don’t communicate them. They can’t fix what they may not realize is wrong.
- Do Your Research – keep track of your accomplishments. Too often workplaces have a “what have you done for me lately” mentality. You need to remind them. You may also need to tell them. They don’t know what they don’t know! Perhaps you go above and beyond but aren’t the type to shine the spotlight. Now is the time to make note of it and be able to reference your accomplishments in the discussion you are about to have. Secondly, you are worth it, but financially, you need to know what you are worth. Do your homework and research compensation ranges for those in your role with your experience. There are lots of online resources to find that information. If you feel you may already have one foot out the door, perhaps consult a recruiter and get an idea of current income ranges you could expect if you “go to market”.
- Know What You Want Out of This Conversation – spend time in advance thinking about what outcome you really want from this conversation. Is it dollars? Is it time? Is it a flexible schedule? What are the next steps you want their commitment on taking? You have to know what your ask is and you have to ask for it!
- Know Your Audience – Prepare to speak in a way that motivates them. What are the goals of that person you are negotiating with? Just like you, they too have goals to hit. How is it that you doing what you do help them achieve what they need to achieve? What is the common goal you can work together towards? Speak their language!
- It’s Not What You Say, It’s What They Hear – Make it a respectful conversation. Mutual respect is critical because as soon as people perceive disrespect in a conversation, the interaction is no longer about the content – it becomes all about maintaining dignity. When the person you are negotiating with shifts into maintaining dignity gear, it triggers the infamous fight or flight reflex, and that usually means the conversation is over.
Like most things, preparation is key. Investing time in preparing for this conversation is investing in yourself, and if done right, will pay you great dividends.