(MoneyWatch) Everyone hates to negotiate. That's because it is hard, makes people uncomfortable and somehow can feel unsavory, as if we should all be above arguing about money. As a result, many of us pay too much for a car and don't understand how to haggle at a flea market.
But your salary is negotiable as well, and getting this wrong can have expensive implications for the rest of your life. So it can literally pay to get it right. Not everyone has a ton of salary flexibility. Especially among larger businesses, raises are not especially negotiable; they are calculated by accountants and delivered with annual review results. But if you work for a smaller company -- either full time or as a 1099 freelancer -- you might have some wiggle room.
LinkedIn recently published an excellent list of things not to say during a salary negotiation (Based on my roughly 20 years of experience as a freelance writer, many of these definitely ring true):
I'm sorry. This one tops the list because we're all apologetic about even broaching money. Never start a conversation about salary with an apology like, "I'm sorry I need to ask about this but...." It automatically transfers power to the employer and suggests that you're not committed to the conversation.
Yes. Don't say yes to the first offer -- the whole idea of a negotiation is that you will negotiate. In the same way that a car dealer doesn't reveal the best price when you walk in the door, your employer has some room to negotiate and can probably offer you better numbers than what he or she starts with. Push back on the initial offer.
No. Don't say "no" outright, since it is a conversation ender. Look for a way to move forward. For instance, ask if there are non-salary alternatives, such as benefits, or what is standing in the company's way of paying what you are asking for. Keep the conversation moving forward.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Very Quiet