Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

June 13 2013

How to Ask for a Raise - And Actually Get It

By David McMillin, Staff Writer

Ready for a raise? If you’re working to secure the salary you deserve, new research from the Columbia Business School highlights that there is one key component in the art of effective negotiation: specificity.

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In fictitious negotiations between more than 1,250 participants, people were asked to make offers for items using rounded dollar amounts such as $5,000 and more exact amounts such as $5,015. Researchers found that using the more exact dollar amount made participants on the other side of the negotiation table believe that items had more value.

The study can also inform how you value something very important: yourself.

“The practical application of these findings - signaling that you are informed and using a precise number - can be used in any negotiation situation to imply you’ve done your homework,” Malia Mason, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Business, Columbia Business School, said.

Rather than simply asking for a pay increase with a tidy-looking round number, the study shows that you may want to settle on a figure that feels more precise to show your boss that you’ve really taken the time to appraise your own worth.

“What we discovered is there is a big difference in what most people think is a good strategy when negotiating and what research shows is a good strategy,” Mason said. “Negotiators should remember that in this case, zero’s really do ad nothing to the bargaining table.”

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You may not be able to calculate the exact value you bring to the table at your job,     but you can think about your day-to-day responsibilities, your past results and your ability to inspire the other members of your team. Do your research to determine what your peers are earning, and do the math to present a realistic figure that represents how much more money you need to accurately represent what you mean to your company’s bottom line.

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