1. Edit, edit, edit. One of the upsides of our digital age is that most communication is written — not spoken. You can and should think critically before sending an email or text. Next time you’re about to send an email that addresses a negotiation of any kind, pause. Walk away for a cup of coffee, or a whole weekend if you have the time. When you look at the message with fresh eyes, ask yourself: “How much of this missive is request, and how much of it is blathering explanation?” Be ruthless. Edit the heck out of the message. Then, edit some more. The resulting note should contain only the necessary information, unencumbered by the fluff of over-explanation. As you get in the practice of writing in concise, powerful messages, your thinking will organically follow suit. The next time you are forced to negotiate verbally and on your feet, you will be more likely to choose your words with care and skill.
2. Say your peace then be quiet. Remember that scary silence? Now that you’re aware of it, embrace it. Own it. Use it to your advantage. Here’s one of my own negotiating secrets: Lean into the silence, because the other party is likely far more scared of it than you are. I have probably made hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years by making a big ask then shutting the eff up. Let the other party squirm in that uncomfortable unknown. Nearly every time, they readily agree out of fear of what is transpiring in that void of communication. Turn it around to your favor.
3. Fake it ‘til you make it. You may not truly believe that you deserve what you ask for. That is OK for now. Asking with confidence — even phony confidence — becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Make that ask, in clear, polite, succinct language. Shut up. Then welcome the windfall. It only takes one or two of these wins before real, genuine confidence materializes.
Emma Johnson is a personal finance journalist, blogger at WealthySingleMommy.com, and host of The Emma Johnson Show, syndicated nationwide on AM radio.