by Sunny Simon

As the incoming text signal sounded, I snatched up the phone and smiled broadly. The message from my client read, “I did it!! After almost a two hour meeting I got the raise!” Earlier in the week we discussed and rehearsed negotiating for this pay increase. Although Deanne was well prepared, it obviously wasn’t a slam dunk. Spending a good portion of the morning in the partner’s office vying for larger piece of the pie took determination, tenacity and some well honed bargaining skills.

We previously discussed the importance of taking responsibility for her financial future. If Deanne did not speak up for herself, no fairy Godmother was going to wave a magic wand and fatten her paycheck. Going into the meeting Deanne knew she had to be professional beyond measure yet assertive.

She was ready to win. Having done her research on comparable jobs in the region, she had the figures supporting her argument. What Deanne also prepared was a commentary on the value she added to the firm over the past twelve months. She discussed how she took the lead on audits, trained and mentored employees and gave examples of how she delivered profit to the bottom line.


Sure, in a perfect world life would be fair and Deanne wouldn’t have to work so hard to convince her manager to up her base pay. The fact that the economy is showing improvement does not mean companies are all giddy about handing out annual increases. Some employers are sticking to giving a small cost of living bump, perhaps 2 percentage points while others delay salary reviews to the 18 month mark or beyond. Other players in the corporate world offer base plus a variable compensation component. If the company has a good year, everyone wins, if the company stumbles, even the best employees go unrewarded.

Whether you are in line for a salary review or in a job search, start honing your negotiation skills. Approach a scheduled salary discussion by being personable and reasonable. Do your homework, practice with a friend and go prepared with a laundry list of facts and data.

Just a suggestion: Before you hit the bosses’ office, try practicing on small events like when your wife wants to go out to dinner and you prefer to stay home and watch the ballgame. A savvy negotiation will have you munching pizza in front of the tube by the first inning. Good luck!

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching and the author of the blog