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Lessons for Salary Negotiations from a Hostage Negotiator

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Summary: Here are just seven lessons from a former FBI negotiator that can be used during a salary negotiation.

Lesson 1: Realize that you are in a negotiation even when money is not necessarily involved. Time is a commodity that both parties in a negotiation find important. Price is just the first point in the negotiation; the terms of the price make it or break it.

Lesson 2: You must possess the authority to make the demand for advancement. Just saying that you will be the best performer if they pay you more does not mean anything to your manager. You have to have evidence to back up your demands.

Lesson 3: Listening is just as important as what you say during a negotiation. When your focus is entirely on getting a raise, you may miss important cues or messages from your manager. You may get offered something better than a raise, like full health-benefits or a new car, but if you are only listening for them to say “Sure, have an extra $20,000,” then you will miss the other offers.

Lesson 4: Research suggests that those that are liked are six times more likely to get what they want. Be pleasant and likeable. You don’t have to be tough and pushy to get what you want.

Lesson 5: Make your manager feel powerless. If they respond to you that “there is no room in the budget for a raise,” or “it’s not a good time,” then you can respond to them with, “It seems like there is nothing you can do.” This statement will make your manager feel as if they lack the power and authority to do something. No manager wants to be powerless in front of their employees.

Lesson 6: Research is not everything. Understanding what you are worth is great, but sometimes a company is not able to match that rate.

Lesson 7: Don’t mention your other offers during the negotiation. If your company cannot pay you the higher amount, they may feel as if you are taking them hostage and resent you for that.


Lessons for Salary Negotiations from a Hostage Negotiator by
Authored by: Amanda Griffin