Effective Negotiation Skills

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Effective negotiation is a skill, and like any skill, it can be learned.

Learn How to Negotiate

You may have the opportunity to negotiate salary, benefits, and other job details with an employer. Negotiation should end in an agreement that meets your goals and your employer’s. Effective negotiation is a skill, and like any skill, it can be learned. Attend the Career Workshop to learn and refine negotiating skills. Then practice your skills. Find a mentor who can coach you through the process and role-play scenarios. LDS Employment Resource Services or Self-Reliance Center staff members, your ward or stake employment specialist, or someone in your field can be a good coach.

When to Negotiate

You are in a position to negotiate when the employer understands your value to the organization. During your job search, only negotiate pay and other benefits after a job offer is made. If a potential employer wants to discuss pay expectations or other benefits before extending an offer, ask to discuss money after you and the employer agree you are a match. Suggest that if you both find that you want to work together, you can agree on a salary then. 

Prepare to Negotiate

As you prepare to negotiate, find out what the employer’s needs are, and try to meet them without losing sight of your own goals and ideals. Consider the following questions:

  • What are you looking for in terms of pay, working conditions, and other considerations?
  • What does the organization want from you?
  • What can you offer the organization?
  • What can the organization offer you?
  • What kind of environment are you negotiating in?
  • What does the industry generally pay for your skills, product, or service?

When you identify your general goals, list some specific things that might be included in those goals, such as:

  1. Not working on weekends.
  2. Earning $30,000 a year.
  3. Sick leave.
  4. Performance review within three months for possible wage increase.
  5. Money for relocation.

Evaluate these goals by comparing them to one another. For instance, is number 1, “Not working on weekends,” more important to me than number 2, “Earning $30,000 a year?” Prioritize your goals and prepare options you can suggest if your preferred solution is not acceptable. Anticipate areas that might present problems, and then list several alternatives to resolve these issues.

How to Negotiate

Throughout the negotiation, remember to be open and honest. Negotiations should leave both parties feeling satisfied with the outcome. Here are a few additional points to consider:

  1. Ask questions. If you ask permission to ask a question, you will lay a foundation for agreement and likely receive a complete answer. Plan for questions you can ask.
      • Ask open-ended questions to gain information and build a relationship. Open-ended questions typically begin with “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “why.”
      • Use closed-ended questions (questions that encourage short answers, such as “yes” or “no”) when you want to gain a concession or confirm a deal point.
  2. Be an excellent listener. The more information you get, the better able you’ll be to uncover others’ needs. It will then be easier for you to show how you are able to meet those needs.
  3. Paraphrase to ensure understanding. Restate in your own words what the other person has said to make sure you understand correctly. Be sure to use different words so that it doesn’t sound like you are mimicking.
  4. Get it in writing. Take notes during negotiations. Notes will help all parties recall what has already been discussed or decided. Be sure to get all offers in writing.
  5. Save issues for later discussion. Focus on one issue before you move on to the next.
  6. Emphasize your value. If the organization thinks your monetary expectations are too high, indicate what you think your contribution will be to the organization. Use “Power Statements
  7. Be flexible in your negotiations. Take the attitude of “I’m just working out the details.” Be willing to give up things that don’t really matter to you in order to create a feeling of goodwill.
  8. Use silence for consideration. In response to an offer, restate the offer, sit quietly, and silently count to 10. Allow everyone time to consider. This technique may also prompt the employer to justify the offer, which could continue the negotiation process, or it could lead to a better offer.
  9. Take time to consider offers. When a final offer is extended, if it is not enough, thank the employer, provide a Power Statement, and ask for time to consider the offer.
  10.  Express gratitude. When you reach an agreement, express gratitude and appreciation. Show how anxious you are to join the organization to make a contribution.

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