Good negotiating skills are learned over time and when done well, can provide many benefits. However, new findings from a University of Phoenix survey of 2,191 U.S. adults found that while almost 60 percent of men are comfortable negotiating their salary, only 42 percent of women say the same.[1]

Following tips can help people gain confidence in their ability to negotiate:


  1. Know the value of your unique assets: Know your strengths and how your experiences can benefit the organization. Everything you bring to the negotiation table is part of life’s rich tapestry, whether you are fresh out of college, mid-career, male or female — your unique set of circumstances provide leverage for your situation. Observe and tailor your approach based on your situation.
  2. Research: Research is an important aspect of the negotiation preparation process. For instance, when negotiating for a job or salary, come prepared with industry assessments of how someone with similar experience to yours and for that type of position is compensated and what qualifies them to receive that level of compensation. Also research other benefits such as vacation, working from home or other perks that could be used as a bargaining tool.
  3. Practice and get feedback: People underestimate how much preparation is required in negotiating. Develop and review your talking points and practice them with a friend or colleague who can provide honest feedback.
  4. Be flexible: Customize the situation based on the person with whom you will be speaking. By learning as much as you can about them and their role within the company, you can assess how they will react to you and how they want you to react to them.
  5. Listen: Listening is a critical skill in negotiating. Make sure you hear the offers given to you; the last thing you want to do is talk yourself out of a deal.
  6. Be assertive, not aggressive: Tone and presentation are also major factors in negotiating; it is not what you say, but how you say it. Stay calm and present your position thoughtfully.


To achieve success in negotiating consider the following:


  1. Don’t go in blind: Know the desired outcome and find common ground. Envision the “least restrictive alternative,” which is the minimum you are willing to accept during the negotiation and aim to create a win-win situation.
  2. Don’t get emotional. Showing passion without being overly emotional is a good approach. Practice keeping a steady cadence and tone, and control any tremor in your voice.
  3. Don’t get personal. Your manager will give a raise because of your work accomplishments, and not because of your personal situations. That means your rent, upcoming mortgage, number of children and the like should not be part of the conversation. Your work and career experience and accomplishments must be the focus.
  4. Don’t fidget. Maintain eye contact and sit still. Awkward or sudden movements can make you seem nervous and less confident. 

[1] This poll was conducted from July 7-9, 2017, among a national sample of 2,191 adults. E- interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Angela Heisel.