Negotiating is an important fact of life, and even more so for women.
The gender pay gap is still firmly in place, with women making just 85% of what men earned in 2018, according to the Pew Research Center.
While the thought of negotiating for a bigger paycheck or a promotion may fill you with dread, it actually can be “really, really fun,” according to best-selling author and co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe Mika Brzezinski.
However, you have to do it right to get results.
“You need to know your value when you walk in the door,” she said. “You need to be able to communicate it effectively.”
It’s something Brzezinski has made part of her mission. She has spoken and written about gender equity and is the founder of Know Your Value, a movement and multi-touchpoint platform meant to empower women to express their worth — both professionally and personally. She is the author of the New York Times bestsellers, “All Things at Once “, “Know Your Value ” and “Obsessed “.
Her latest book, which she wrote with her producer Daniela Pierre-Bravo, is “Earn It: Know Your Value and Grow Your Career, In Your 20s and Beyond. “
Anthony Scutro | Miller Hawkins
So, how should you boost your negotiating game? Here are several things Brzezinski believes you should do.
Watch your body language
Just as important as what you say is how you convey it.
That means making sure your body language and physical presence is just right — and matches your message. You should make eye contact with the person you are dealing with and dress in a way that conveys what you want to say, Brzezinski said. If your outfit distracts from your goal, then it is the wrong one.
“You want to show them that they want to hire you, or they want to give you that raise, or they want to give you that flexibility that you need because you’re so valuable and literally,” she said. “You can exude value by looking at the way you present yourself, what you wear, your posture, your body language and your eye contact.”
Daniela Pierre-Bravo & Mika Brzezinski
Anthony Scutro | Miller Hawkins
Convey your passion
You should enter a negotiation armed with great information, and you need to be able to articulate “beautifully” the value you bring to the table, according to Brzezinski.
“You’ve got to show you’re absolutely passionate about what you do and that it brings you joy.”
While that may be different than the way men negotiate, you can dig deep and bring your passion to the table by talking about it effectively.
“Feel free to lean in, feel free to sit back when you’re listening and, of course, be centered always when you need a place to go while you’re listening or getting ready to make an incredible point,” Brzezinski advised.
Be aware of timing
When you ask for a raise or new job is also important, because the timing could have an impact on whether or not your boss can accommodate you.
That means looking at the calendar year, the company’s budget or exactly where your “moment in time” is with the company, Brzezinski said.
“Is your stock up? Are you doing really well? Are you bringing a lot of value to the table? Are you putting a lot of points on the board? That’s good timing.”
There is also bad timing, and you have to be realistic about that as well, she said. In fact, it happened to her. After being fired and out of work for a year, Brzezinski had to start back working part-time and freelance. “My timing was not good at that moment to get that big jump,” she said. “I recognized it and dialed back and took a step back instead of a step forward.” However, women often miss the moment when their stock is up.
“We just let it go right by and everyone else gets those raises or gets what they need to go on to the next level, and we miss it,” said Brzezinski. “So don’t miss your moment, know when your stock is up, be able to articulate how it’s up, and go in there and ask.”
Don’t give up
There are times you are going to be told “no,” and it’s not a big deal, said Brzezinski.
Just as men tend not to dwell on those disappointments, women shouldn’t, either.
“A ‘no’ is just another day in business,” she said. “A ‘yes’ is a success.
“You get to that by trying again and again and again and getting comfortable talking about your value, getting comfortable asking for what you need, and also finding what is exactly the right timing.”
And once you get good at it, you’ll start getting a lot of “yes” responses — and you “can’t stop there,” Brzezinski said.
Mika Brzezinski is the founder of Know Your Value.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.