8 Phrases You Should Use During Salary Negotiations

Salary negotiations seem to be universally accepted one of the more stressful (but inevitable) work conversations. Setting up the case for why you deserve more compensation is a worthy goal, but one that tends to come with a lot of pitfalls. And while there is plenty of advice out there for what not to say while talking with the higher-ups, what should you say instead? Read on for some words and phrases to incorporate into your conversation to get things moving in the right direction.



1. “Similarly situated employees”

It’s always important to do some research before approaching your boss for a higher salary. If you’re not comfortable asking your fellow coworkers what they make, take a look at comparable job titles and responsibilities in areas with a similar cost of living to get an idea of what others make. This will help you have a feasible number in mind when you come to the negotiating table.

2. “Market research”

On a related note, be sure to check out your industry market as a whole. Keep your search tied to your specific geographical area, since salaries for the same job can vary across the country (although, with the prevalence of remote work, this gap is closing rapidly). Mentioning specifically that you’ve done your research will help you feel more confident, since you can mention specific numbers based on the statistics of your area.

3. “I would be more comfortable if…”

This is where finesse really comes into play. Saying “I want” or “I need” can come across as overly aggressive for some employers. They are much less likely to give you want you want if they feel they are being threatened or bulldozed. Instead of making demands, use a softer phrase to get your point across.

4. “I want to be as flexible as possible.”

This is another instance of demonstrating your desire to work for (or continue working for) the company while still sticking up for yourself during salary negotiations. Mentioning how flexible you want to be, as well as how excited you are to be a part of the team, will go a long way in bringing a positive spin to what can otherwise be an intense meeting.

5. “Value”

This is where you talk about your own value as an employee, as well as the value that you can or do bring to the company. Whether you bring increased revenue, more clients, etc.—remind the boss of what you bring to them, which will show in more concrete terms why you deserve your desired salary. Numbers always talk in a situation like this.

6. “If you can do that, I’m on board.”

Having a concrete number on the table can relieve some of the tension that pops up during these types of meetings. Your employer wants to avoid the back-and-forth of negotiations just as much as you, so spelling it out for them clearly and concisely will help cut to the chase.

7. “Can I take time to consider your offer?”

There’s nothing wrong with stepping away from the negotiating table in order to get some clarity. Not only does it give you time to really think about whether their offer is sufficient, but also allows you a quiet moment to come up with a counter offer if it’s not.

8. “I appreciate your help with this.”

When closing out the conversation, be sure to emphasize that the person you’re speaking with is helping you out. It fosters a feeling of comradery and the sense that you’re all in this thing together. When people understand they’re sharing a goal, it subconsciously makes them want to succeed in it.

The dos and don’ts of salary negotiation can seem difficult to remember. But that’s where preparation comes in. Pick and choose what feels right for you, and incorporate those words and phrases into your own loose script that works for your position and company. Remembering your own value as an employee will do wonders in helping your boss see it too. Never be afraid to ask for what you’re worth!

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