Imagine getting ready to ask your boss for a pay raise. Do you see yourself on edge with sweaty palms expecting the answer to be a resounding no? Does the idea of having to negotiate for yourself make you so uncomfortable that you don’t even ask for a meeting?
If you answered yes to the above, you’re not alone. Research shows that men are four times more likely to ask for a pay raise than their female counterparts. Even worse is the fact that when women don’t ask, the result can amount to losing as much as $1M in earnings over a lifetime of work.
The referenced transcript of Jennifer Ludden’s 2011 piece on NPR’s All Things Considered is a few years old, but the facts are still relevant today. The main reason women don’t ask for a raise is because of perceptions about acceptable gender behavior.
Women who advocate for themselves are often seen as aggressive and demanding. It’s natural to think our female bosses will support us, but the truth is they tend to feel the same way. When a man asks for a raise, it’s perfectly acceptable. Men are conditioned to ask since it doesn’t have any negative impact on their standing. Women are conditioned to keep their heads down, work harder, and hope that someone notices and offers them a raise instead of asking and potentially being seen as offensive.
How do we learn to ask for what we are truly worth? Economist Linda Babcock, who teaches negotiation to girls, hints at using the feminine to our advantage. She suggests positioning the request as being something that is good for everyone. Or, make it seem like it is an idea coming from your peers; they think you are doing a terrific job and suggested you deserve a raise for your efforts. Techniques like these incorporate your concern for the whole and not just yourself.
I would suggest that the other thing that’s a must is having and using your personal presence. If you have a great script, but are shrinking down in your chair and your voice is cracking, you’re probably leaving money on the table. Our bodies always tell the truth, and a powerful message comes across in how we are being present.
To increase presence, use the practices we have talked about in this blog and get into your body. The quickest change in making yourself more visible (and more comfortable in being visible) is to turn your attention to the sensations inside your hips, your feet, your legs, and your lower body. Feel your breath starting from your lower belly and rising up into your diagram, ribs, and the back of your lungs. If you are sitting in a chair, keep your arms somewhat open and lift your collarbones.
I hope Jennifer Ludden’s report “Ask for A Raise? Most Women Hesitate” gets you thinking about how important it is to be comfortable with advocating for yourself. Mastering personal presence, being powerful and feminine, and developing confidence to be seen for your true worth is something I am passionate about sharing with all women. If you want to learn more, I’m leading a workshop in July that is fun and experiential and takes you step-by-step through the practices I’ve found to be total game-changers in speaking up and getting your message heard. Our Early Bird discount ends this Friday, so if you’re even considering the option, take a look today and grab your spot if it’s a yes.
Make it a great week!
P.S. If you are out of the San Diego area, and are interested in working with me one-on-one, I offer coaching sessions via SKYPE. Information about private coaching is available on my website or by clicking here.