Things You’re Missing When Negotiating For Yourself


As an executive compensation lawyer and negotiation expert, one of the most common topics I discuss is how to negotiate for yourself. And I regularly see 3 key “misses” when executives are negotiating without the support of a lawyer or negotiation expert.

People rarely are able to negotiate for themselves, put your allies to work to create questions and responses. If you cannot comfortably employ or use the negotiating strategies you would employ while negotiating for others, don’t negotiate for yourself. You deserve better.

Keep reading to make sure you’re —

1.You may be underestimating what you bring to the company and your future value.

Imposter syndrome can get the best of all of us. When you’re negotiating an offer, it’s far too common to underestimate your own value—both what you’re bringing to the company right now and what you’re bringing to the company in the future.

Avoid this common trap. Be ready to list attributes, skills, and expertise you’re bringing to your new role. Keep this in mind as you sit at the negotiation table.

2. You may think you don’t require a bonus for the year of termination, thinking it is prohibited by corporate policy.

Generally, to receive a bonus for the year of termination, you must be employed at the time bonuses are distributed. That means if bonuses are distributed after finances are closed in March, you will not receive a bonus if your separation occurred the prior year. You must negotiate to be paid at least a Pro Rata bonus for the results you contributed during the year in which you were terminated.

3.You’re forgetting …

One of the most common questions I get as an executive compensation lawyer is if—and when—a client should make the first offer. Should you wait to hear what the other party has to say? How will the first offer impact the negotiation process overall?

If you know the range in compensation, listen to the offer and focus on expanding the conversation. What is your bonus? Negotiate to increase the bonus percentage. Be certain you are eligible for corporate matches on retirement contributions. What is your title? To whom will you report? What is the separation policy?

Often we are told to wait for the other side to present a number first. We imagine that, by receiving an opening offer, we’ll gain valuable information about our opponent’s position and unlock new clues to inform negotiations.

However, waiting for the other party to make the first move isn’t always the best-case scenario.