Often I get questions that I find are relevant to many of my community, like this one….

Dear Sharon,
“How do I ask (and get) a raise and promotion?”

Great question! I actually hear this often with my clients, we often practice this conversation just to be ready. The five ‘winning preps’ I share below work for any negotiations.

Adopt the mindset and body language of a winner. You must believe you truly deserve the highest possible return or promotion. Your mindset should be based on well-reasoned facts and benefits to the listener, not your ancient history resume or your ego. Make sure you’ve had a reality-check recently. Run the numbers, find your results, get feedback for others and review the current challenges of the company and the position you are going for.

First, use a “power pose” to get your body chemistry in alignment with what you want.

Research shows the way you show confidence, leadership, and dominance is to take up a lot of space. They are called “power poses” in body language. It’s best defined as assuming a posture of confidence, even when you don’t feel so confident, to make yourself more dominant.

Whether standing or sitting, power poses will give those around you as well as yourself a sense that you are comfortable and in control. The expansive poses elevate your testosterone and decrease your cortisol (stress hormone) and increased feelings of confidence, control, and power. It can take as little as one-to-two minute to effect these hormonal changes. Research shows significant and immediate changes in your body’s chemistry. After just two minutes in a high-power pose, your testosterone levels (the “dominance” hormone) can skyrocket 20%. While testosterone is often thought of as a “male” hormone, women have it too.

What is a Power Pose?

It’s any movement or posture that takes up more space than you normally do. It’s expansive — consider the extreme expansive poses of Wonder Woman and Super Man with hands on your hips, feet wide apart and eyes forward with your head erect and chin parallel to the ground. This pose creates two “V” shapes — with legs apart and hands on hips… now, I don’t suggest doing this pose at the next board meeting, yet it will quickly shift how you feel about yourself.

There are more subtle ways than Superman and Wonder Woman to do an expansive pose. One easy way is to spread out your paperwork a bit more at the next team meeting. Another is to place your hands on the table and lean forward. This works both sitting and standing, although this pose says dominance which can be interpreted as “Not open to negotiation” when standing.

If you want to use a casual approach, rest your arm on the back of your chair and relax into the back of your chair, guys can get away with even spreading the legs but I don’t suggest it for either gender, it’s just too casual and doesn’t say professional.

Consider using these intentional body postures and gestures, together or separately, that will send the message of high expectations of yourself and those around you:

  • Back straight to create erect posture
  • Shoulders square on spine and back; no slouching shoulders
  • Head squarely above shoulders and neck
  • Chin parallel to ground
  • Eyes open and focused on where you are going
  • Weight even on both legs if standing
  • Gait steady and smooth if walking
  • Breathing low and steady, with smooth abdominal movement

Right after taking a power pose, walk into the room with your chin parallel to the ground, eyes forward and use a slow-smile. A slow-smile is one that starts with a neutral face and when the person says their name, your smile should be at its zenith. The full smile at the same time someone says their name says nonverbally “this smile is for you.”

Create a solid, confident connection by shaking hands and make consistent, but not constant eye contact. Sit or stand at 90 degrees or side-by-side and use the three cross-cultural hand gestures that say “Tell me more…,” with an open, up-facing palm; the side-palm gesture says “This is serious;” and the down-facing palm that says “Not open to negotiation.”

Create a message that will arouse curiosity, intrigue, anticipation, and desire in the person you are talking to, so much so that they’ll feel compelled to take action in your favor.  The WOW! factor as critical as intrigue is a powerful motivator. Your message has to be 100% about them. What benefits will you bring to the new position? How will they “earn more” to cover your raise? In other words, prove you are worth it. Use your inside information about the company to offer different, out-of-the-box or a new way of looking at a long-standing problem or a current challenge you can or have fixed for them?

Leave your listener in a state of curiosity and just slightly unsatisfied. Why? You will be remembered, you are still an unfinished conversation to them…. The intrigued listener is likely to seek you out for completion of the conversation.  This uncompleted conversation keeps you top of mind.

Use numbers in your message.  A way to keep arousing more anticipation as you finish the first conversation and throughout following conversations is dollarize (Is that a word?) or quantify your current results and how those will translate in the future. Numbers are the language of the unconscious mind so they tend to slide right by the conscious, logical mind. Numbers are the universal language. Numbers allow the unconscious mind to make fast decisions.

Always have at your fingertips a way to monetize or quantify your current and future results and what you can do for them.

Consistently speak in easy to understand ‘street talk’ and high contrast.
That’s because street talk is easy to follow and high contrast allows your message to go right to their unconscious brain. Avoid any jargon that is outside the scope of the promotion/raise you are going for and those million-dollar words.

The unconscious mind, the deciding mind, is the part that loves to make quick “yes or no” decisions. To get to the unconscious brain to decide quickly, you must keep it really simple (and use numbers.) The deciding brain (the unconscious) gets confused easily with abstract language and too much information. Know that a confused mind always says “No.”

Keep your sentences short. Remove language softeners such as “Maybe you’ve heard…,” “Now, anyone could have done it…” details, back, tory and the “middle.” The unconscious brain conserves energy by dropping attention whenever possible and that’s often in the middle of your story. Think about how many times your attention has waned when the story gets too detailed or drawn out.

Try to keep your opening remarks to no more than 100 words, (that’s about 30 seconds spoken) then shut-up. Silence is a powerful motivator to get others to share what’s on their mind. If you’ve done your opening correctly, the first thing out of their mouth should be “Tell me more….”

Then share an intriguing WOW! such as “I’ve developed 3 cost-saving systems that have added up to $250,000 a year in savings for our shipping department;”  “I successfully managed the software team to create the much-needed billing module, completed 2 weeks ahead of schedule and $5,000 under budget.” Maybe you don’t have a WOW quite like that, it can be as simple as “As Ms. Smith’s executive assistant, I created new systems for tracking tardy personnel that increased our on-time response rate by 3 hours.” If you can add a dollar amount it is even more powerful, but sometimes we just don’t have the numbers. Remember, create a desire-based, anticipation-savoring, simple street-talk, high-contrast, an a benefit-laden example for the listener without softeners, details, backstory and drop out anything that will distract from the WOW! factor.

Now, what manager wouldn’t be intrigued by bold statements like that and get another “Tell me more….”

Remember – the conscious mind thinks and the unconscious decides. Always speak to the unconscious mind if you want that raise and promotion. (Actually, these five techniques influence any type of decision you are seeking – not just promotions.)

To Life! To Success!