Negotiating successfully

Negotiating successfully

 14 Jul 2022

We use negotiating skills in every social setting, often without realising it; but nowhere is it more important than in the workplace.

At Buckley Consulting, we are regularly asked for advice on how to request a pay rise, a bonus, a promotion, a change of roles etc. People say they feel awkward talking about themselves, but negotiating is straight forward with the right approach.


Why negotiate?

It’s the old adage “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”. All too often we assume that our employer knows what it is we want, or thinks we are happy with our lot. In an ideal world, it would be great to have employers who can second guess our aspirations, but that isn’t always the case. So, we either take the bull by the horns and ask, or get increasingly fed up.


The right approach

Don’t view a negotiation as a standoff between opposing sides. This will start you off in completely the wrong frame of mind. Being uneasy can sometimes make people appear overly aggressive or defensive, but neither will help during a negotiation. It sometimes helps to imagine that you are presenting the case on behalf of someone else.



Preparation is the absolute key to successful negotiation, especially in the workplace. If you aren’t prepared, you can’t put forward your best case, and it becomes easy to let emotions run away with you.

Don’t be tempted to try and negotiate off the hoof during a salary review meeting when you’ve just been given a disappointing pay rise. Ask for time to reflect, and arrange for a follow up meeting.

Before any negotiation, take time to think through:

  • What is your ideal scenario? Know exactly what you want before you sit down to any negotiation.
  • What is non-negotiable? It may be easy to work out your line in the sand if for example you need a particular work arrangement for caring responsibilities, but more complicated if you’ve asked for a bonus or promotion and your employer refuses.
  • What are the areas of compromise? E.g. if promotion isn’t offered immediately, but enhanced experience is, are you prepared to wait another 12 months etc.?
  • How is your employer likely to respond? A vital part of your preparation is to see the case from the other side. If you have a good idea what the counter arguments are likely to be, you can prepare your response in advance.


Establish your case

The art of successful negotiation is that both sides come away with something that is acceptable. Because of this, it is very important to have an appreciation  of what is important to your boss/line manager and how they are likely to respond.

Your arguments need to be level headed, persuasive and evidence-based. Detach yourself from the emotional.

Why does it make sense for your boss to agree to your request? What are the pros and cons to the organisation? How could the company overcome any hurdles?


Essential skills

Cool-headed. Emotion rarely works well during a negotiation. Take the time to make your points and to think carefully about what has been discussed.

Well prepared. It is essential to know your arguments and have the data to back up your arguments.

Communication skills: Express yourself clearly, take your notes with you to help remember everything, and hear the other side out.

Perceptive. Without an  appreciation for what is important to your boss, it will be very difficult to negotiate successfully.

Flexible. Be prepared to give a little, especially if a compromise means you get most of what you want.


Need advice?

If you need some outside help, feel free to get in touch on 020 3303 0020 or email or We’ll be delighted to arrange a confidential chat so we can advise on the best approach for your individual case.


Currently there are no comments. Be the first to post one!

Post Comment