When Boyhood actress Patricia Arquette made that speech about wage equality at the Oscars, it raised a few eyebrows, but more importantly, it raised questions. Are you happy with your salary? Do you think that you should be paid more than what you’re getting? Are your male colleagues receiving higher compensation than you are? If your answers to these questions are no, yes, and yes respectively, then you should ask your boss for a raise
“This is important. What you're asking for is important,” says Mika Brzezinski, host of MSNBC's Morning Joe and author of Knowing Your Value in an interview with Marie Claire. “We're terrified of asking. We think we'll be seen as untoward, we feel a sense of guilt…we feel the opposite of what men feel.”

So how does one go about asking for a raise? Brzezinski throws down a few tips:

Don’t go in all apologetic.
Brzezinski warns against devaluing yourself right off the bat. Don’t say you’re sorry or that you know that this is a bad time for the company. Don’t give out reasons for wanting a raise either. “Look, nobody cares about you and your issues. You're supposed to go in there and be talking about your value. Not you. Avoid the drama, avoid the apologies, the self-deprecation,” she says.

Have a figure ready.
Do your research. Ask around for what a person with your expertise and experience is getting, so you know exactly what you’re asking for. “You have to come armed with information and data. Do you think someone's just going to be nice to you? That someone's going to do you a favor and give you a raise because you it'd be nice? You're devaluing yourself right then and there.”

Use these key phrases.
Be assertive in the negotiating room and keep these phrases in mind: “Here's what I bring to the table. Here's the value I bring to the company. In six months this is what I could do for you, but I'm going to need to be paid my value and this is the number…”

Silence is golden.
Once you’ve made your case, be quiet. That awkward silence you dread so much—that’s actually a good thing. It’s uncomfortable, true, and you might feel the urge to fill the dead air with words, but Brzezinski says you need to look at the person you’re talking to in the eye and wait it out. “Don't babble yourself into a box, or a lesser number, or a self-deprecating remark.”

Practice public speaking.
Before you talk to your boss about a raise, practice it with your friends. Start speaking up more. It’s important that you verbalize your words and hear them out loud. 

PHOTO: Mike Dee; GIFS: Giphy.com

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