Posted: Jun 04, 2012 7:21 AM
According to the book Women Don’t Ask, women who consistently negotiate their salary increases earn at least $1 million more through the course of their careers than women who don't. To get what you want out of your day-job -- from a higher wage to a workload that's not over-loaded -- you need to learn the art of negotiation.

Lisa Gates and Victoria Pynchon, experts in negotiation and co-founders of She Negotiates, offer this advice for women who need help brokering higher salaries, have a hard time saying no, or need to take charge of their workload by delegating more often.

Need a raise? Know your market value

Gates says the reason why women leave money on the table throughout their career is that, "We work harder and longer than our male counterparts and wait for those with power to notice how fabulous we are and give us praise, maybe a raise. It's the workplace Cinderella story."

Pynchon says women need to "learn and earn" their market value. "This starts with understanding that you're likely working outside your job duties," she says. The solution? Find outside resources for job descriptions (with salaries) that demonstrate what you actually do and how much you should earn for it. Do your homework and bring that research with you when you sit down at the negotiating table.

Searching for a new job?

Gates and Pynchon offer these tips for negotiating with a prospective employer:

  • Learn how to negotiate (via classes, coaching or seminars).
  • Use the phrase compensation package versus strictly salary when discussing your last position. This way you can monetize all of the moving parts into one sum -- from vacation time to parking, even benefits and bonuses.
  • Research your value. Know what the going salary ranges are for the position you want and negotiate from the top.

Need new ways to say no?

Gates says that a thoughtful, qualified no actually says more about your leadership potential than a knee-jerk yes. She notes there are ways to say no and make it feel like yes. Consider saying, "If I take on this project, X or Y project will have to move to the back burner. Are you good with that?"

Pynchon agrees and offers this line for women who have a hard time saying no, "I'd love to do that but I hear that George's hours are down and this would really be a great project for him."

Tend to take on too much?

Pynchon says that women often fall into the trap of thinking it’s easier to do things themselves instead of taking the time to delegate. The reality, she says, is that leaders delegate.

Gates says women can get better at delegating by learning productivity strategies and understanding how they can take something on while also giving something up. The bigger picture, she says, is for women to learn to be more strategic about what they say yes and no to.

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