How to ask for a raise: negotiation vs persuasion

how to ask for a raise

Asking for a pay rise can be daunting. But with the right approach, seeing a healthy jump on your next pay cheque could be a reality.

Negotiation may be the foremost method that comes to mind when wondering about how to ask for a pay rise, but persuasion is a softer approach that could come in handy in this aspect of your career. Both techniques have to be executed with finesse in order to achieve your goal, so read on to find out how you can use them to your advantage.

Negotiation: Leveraging on numbers & facts

Negotiation is used when the main point of your meeting is focused on the amount in question. If you are in a revenue generating or sales position, put into figures how much new business or revenue you brought the company. For other roles, and also in addition to the latter, you should discuss other achievements. For example, you may have successfully managed a project, introduced new business efficiencies or brought unique soft skills to your role.

How can you effectively negotiate a pay rise? Let your boss make the first offer. That could set the lower limit for you to negotiate up from. If you are made to offer a number first, aim high (but realistic) with the goal of meeting your boss’ offer in the middle. Ensure you consult an industry salary guide to ensure you’re familiar with what the market is paying for someone at your level.

If you are not happy with what your manger offers you or a pay rise isn’t an option at the present moment, there is still sense in being flexible about what else you can negotiate for. With this as your Plan B, make a list of items you might be interested in, such as a title promotion or additional annual leave.

Persuasion: More than just charm

Persuasion is employed when a change in mindset or attitude is sought. It involves a degree of influence that extends beyond what’s being said at the table. Like everything else in life, it’s best to be prepared before the meeting. Start by anticipating the objections your boss might come up with, and think of ways to address those pesky ‘buts’ positively.

Take note of your body language – a relaxed but upright body posture indicates confidence and sincerity, encouraging the other party to let down his or her guard, and helps keep the discussion open and flowing smoothly.

Timing is integral in a successful persuasion, such as when you choose to sit down with your superior for The Talk. Besides trying to gauge whether your boss is having a good day, take into consideration how your company has been faring. Asking for a rise when stock prices have been dipping and people being made redundant will not reflect well on you. Raising the subject of an increment after something positive has happened, such as a recent glowing performance review or just after winning an award, will dramatically increase your chances of success.

When asking for a rise, there is no one text-book method to deal with how your boss will react, so be situationally-aware and it’ll be easy to figure out which technique works best. It is not a battle or argument; aim to see eye to eye with your superior in order to produce the best outcome for yourself and your career.

This post has been adapted from How to ask for a raise: negotiation vs persuasion which originally appeared on

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