Those Awkward Conversations about Salary

There are few conversations in life as awkward as those about money. It’s an instant deep-dive into your most inner self—an awkward flapping of insecurities, culture, gender, and all that is good and not-so-good about oneself.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Our money taboo stems from the British, who, traditionally, deemed it terribly gauche to talk about finances,” says Jodi R. R. Smith, of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting, in an article written by Laura Shin for Forbes. You would think that, as a society, we would have moved on from aristocratic concepts of earned and inherited wealth. But how much we make and the ability to negotiate those earnings is akin to being the smallest fish in the shark tank. It takes some skill to survive.

So how do you talk about salary and compensation? You prepare.

  1. Check salary ranges by job type and region. The 2015—2016 NonProfit Salaries & Staffing Report is a good place to start. The PNP Staffing Group report covers hiring considerations, salaries, trends and considerations that are important for nonprofit employers and employees. “Do your research to understand how in-demand your skills are and what the typical compensation package looks like,” writes Melissa Llarnea for Forbes Woman.
  1. Identify compensation needs other than money. Is professional development, continuing education, more technology, flextime, or an expanded expense allowance important to you? Look at the bigger picture when negotiating—it is not always about money.
  1. Know what you’re worth. Know what value you bring to the organization and be prepared to discuss it. It’s why you are on the payroll, so put a price tag on your experience and talent.
  1. Practice your answer out loud. This advice comes from Allison Green, writing for US News/Money. She says, “You might think you know how you’re going to answer the salary question, but plenty of people blanch when it comes to actually talking about money. Know what wording you’re going to use and practice, so when you’re doing it for real, you feel comfortable and it sounds natural.”

Add to Today’s Tasks: Prepare.

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