Negotiating Your Way to A Better Job,
(ARA) - In the film "The
Negotiator," Oscar-winners Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey portray
professional negotiators who must battle wits to solve a police conspiracy. So who wins
the war of the tongue? Neither.
After a stalemate in negotiations, the two experts decide
to team up to catch the bad-guys and save the day. The moral: never underestimate a good
negotiator, even if you happen to be one yourself. In everyday life, we don't often find
ourselves face-to-face with elite negotiators. But negotiation is nonetheless a part of
our daily existence, whether we're at the office, at home, or amongst friends. Think about
your negotiating skills the next time you and your spouse choose a movie at the video
store, or the next time you haggle a price with that crafty used-car salesman.
Do you feel cheated or short-changed when you've been out-negotiated? The intensity of
your reaction probably corresponds with the seriousness of the results. Having to pay
$1,000 more for that used car may hurt your pocketbook more than sitting through your
spouse's idea of great cinema will affect your attention span.
In the business world, negotiation skills are a necessity whether you're closing a deal
in sales or hiring a new employee in human resources. Consider your next performance
review at work, for example. You want the salary you deserve, and hope that your
performance speaks for itself, but will that be enough? What if your manager is in poor
spirits that day? Or if the company's stock takes a nosedive during the week of your
meeting? You can't control all the elements, but doing your research beforehand can prove
Here's an example of what not to do, from successful businessman and international
speaker, Harvey Mackay. Mackay loves to tell the story of the great negotiator and
baseball manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey. Back in the 1940's, athletes
didn't hire high-priced agents to negotiate million dollar contracts.
They were left to
fend for themselves. Gene Hermanski, an outfielder determined to get a $10,000 raise for
his excellent season, marched into Rickey's office prepared to argue passionately for his
case. When he returned after a lengthy meeting, Hermanski was asked if he got his raise.
"No, he replied, but I didn't get cut either."
The message here is clear: a head of steam and a deserving case is no match for a
master negotiator so good that he leaves his opponent feeling lucky to have kept their
No slouch at negotiating himself, Mackay offers 6 tips for getting a raise
in his book, "Pushing the
Envelope: All the Way to the Top." Keep in mind, the basic premise behind these
tips could also be applied to anyone searching for a new job.
1) Research your target. Pick your time carefully. When you asked Dad for the car keys,
did you hit him when he walked in the door or wait until after he'd had his dinner and was
in a good mood?
2) Know the company. What percentage did profits, sales, and market share increase last
3) Know the competition. What are other people at other companies getting paid for your
slot? This is particularly useful when you haven't been all that productive. You still
might be able to demonstrate that you're underpaid.
4) Know your product. That's you. Keep a log of your accomplishments. Write it down.
Make notes in your daily calendar. That way, you won't forget anything, and you'll have
the most valuable form of proof there is: written evidence.
5) If you get turned down, set the table for the next round. Ask: "What do I have
to do in the next 6 or 12 months to accomplish my economic goals?"
6) Don't threaten. Don't bluff. Don't be afraid to ask.
Mackay concludes each chapter of his book with a "Mackay Moral." His moral
for workers interested in getting a raise? With due regard to Jerry Maguire--"If you
want them to show you the money, you better show them the reason."
Harvey Mackay is chief executive officer of the Mackay Envelope Corporation, a business
he founded in 1959 in Minneapolis. In addition, he is a nationally syndicated weekly
business columnist, #1 New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With the
Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," and internationally acclaimed speaker.
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