How to improve your persuading, influencing, and negotiating skills

By Robert Half on 13 June 2022
Estimated Read Time: 4 minutes

Your ability to persuade, influence and negotiate will become even more critical for your career in Hong Kong.

If you are going to advance your career, you will likely need some tools to move forward, such as professional development, support staff or leadership opportunities.

As you gain tenure with the company, you may want a higher salary, more benefits, or different tasks and responsibilities.

Here are ten tips to help you improve your persuading, influencing, and negotiating skills in the workplace.

1. Figuring out what you want

Make a list of what is important to you and set your priorities ahead of time.

You should enter a negotiation with clear goals and prepare to adjust your expectations during this give-and-take process.

2. Doing your research

Is it a promotion or a better compensation package you are focused on?

You can strengthen your position by supporting it with current market data from the Salary Guide, such as how much employees earn in similar positions, industries, and geographic regions.

Are you looking for more flexibility? A tight labour market with a shortage of skilled professionals can make employers more open to concessions when they are struggling with staffing and employee retention.

Related: Developing your interpersonal skillset

3. Focusing on the value you bring

You were hired for a reason and knowing your worth can give you the confidence to successfully negotiate for career advancement.

Calculate your potential contribution by showing how you can help the company increase its profits or lower costs.

Build your case with a list of your unique and transferrable skills, industry experience, accolades, and leadership and collaboration capabilities.

If you are in an entry-level position, you may have classes, internships, or mentorship experiences you can use to highlight your achievements and skills

4. Practicing and role-playing before you negotiate

The key is to get yourself in a confident mindset.

Compile a list of talking points so you can deliver a compelling argument for what you want.

It may help to rehearse the conversation with a mentor and to imagine your negotiating for a friend.

Related: How to improve your communication skills in the workplace

5. Being humble, assertive, and practical

Ask, rather than demand. Express your opinions while respecting the other side’s perspectives.

Take a fact-driven approach to negotiation.

Review your job description and consider anything extra you have done outside of your list of responsibilities, such as cutting costs or adding to the company culture.

6. Demonstrating active listening skills

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason, and you should try to get the other person to speak so you can listen as much as possible.

To reinforce your interest in what the speaker has been saying and to gather useful information, ask relevant questions.

Some examples include:

  • “What leadership opportunities could grow from this role?”
  • “What has made someone successful in this job”
  • “How do you see my role evolving?”

Listening is not just useful for elevating a conversation; it is also recognised as a valuable skill set that companies and hiring managers are looking for.

Related: 4 easy ways to improve your public speaking skills

7. Strategizing what to negotiate beyond salary

Be prepared to discuss topics that are important to you, such as a signing or retention bonus, flexible work schedule, remote vs. hybrid vs. onsite work, maternity/paternity leave, childcare and tuition reimbursement, your job title, upward mobility options, and the scope of work you are performing.

Review your strengths and weaknesses to plan a realistic course of action.

Also, use this strategy: Ask for more than you want to give yourself some wiggle room; it never hurts to start a bit higher, especially in this market.

8. Realising the conversation does not have to end with the negotiated offer

Some people describe this as the never-take-the-first-offer approach.

You may find it appropriate to conduct a second round of negotiations if the offer was not what you were hoping for.

Related: Improving your presentation skills

9. Knowing your bargaining power

Whether you are a job candidate at your second interview or an employee looking for something more, you should know that the company has already invested in you.

And, in today’s job market, workers are feeling increasingly empowered.

10. Viewing rejection as an opportunity to learn

Your negotiation shows your assertiveness, which is an in-demand skill in the workplace.

Even if you do not get what you ask for, it is likely this experience has taught you something about yourself and the company, and about what you might do differently the next time, all of which are positive outcomes.

Related: Develop your problem-solving skills

How to improve your persuading, influencing, and negotiating skills

Whether you are just starting out, in the middle of your career, or near retirement, negotiating can be uncomfortable.

Having an alternative offer, whether it is internally or from a different company, can give you bargaining power.

Consider what matters most for your professional and personal life and do your due diligence to negotiate these topics or issues.

Regardless of the outcome, you should know that persuading, influencing, or negotiating with confidence can help you develop your career, earn you respect, build relationships, increase job satisfaction, improve your company, and earn credibility in your career.

With practice, your ability to influence will improve, and you will reach your career goals.

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