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Have you hit the “glass ceiling” so many times, it feels as if the top of your head is flat? Has your journey through the executive ranks seem to have stalled out? Are your dedication and hard work going unrewarded? Are you feeling underappreciated or misunderstood in the workplace? If so…welcome to The Club!

“This is THE place, where like-minded, executive-minded, forward-thinking women come to communicate—collaborate—and celebrate everything that it means to be a career-focused woman in a male-dominated work environment. This isn’t about ‘us vs. them.’ This is about us making a name for ourselves—taking a seat, and truly owning that seat, at the executive table—and doing so not as ‘clones’ of men, but as authentic, self-confident, self-empowered women.”

Amanda Blesing

2 x Author; Women’s C-Suite Mentor & Executive Coach; Founder: The She-Suite™ Club

Where empowered women empower other women. Because when women win, everyone wins.

What not to say when asking for a raise

I’ve written extensively about asking for a raise, how to negotiate a pay rise or an initial offer, and the challenges that women face when it comes to asking for a raise. What I haven’t addressed yet is what NOT to ask for or what NOT to say in order to be more successful. Interestingly there are a couple of gendered considerations here – for example, if a man mentions that he and his partner are about to have a baby, he is more likely to get a raise. In fact, this phenomenon is so common it’s even got a name – The Baby Bonus. Yet if a woman mentions she is pregnant, she still steps on egg shells for fear of rocking the boat as it’s potentially perceived as a negative on her value – a phenomenon called The Motherhood Penalty.

To help you plan your next negotiation here are some language tips to avoid to enable you to be more persuasive, and present yourself professionally and effectively.

1. Comparing Yourself to Others:

Avoid directly comparing your salary to that of your colleagues or making statements like, “I deserve a raise because I make less than [co-worker].” Focus on your own contributions and value to the company instead. To flip this on it’s head though, you could ask about when your salary was last benchmarked. In an era of salary transparency, this question is not seen as confrontational and several of my clients have done exceedingly well using this reframe.

    2. Threats or Ultimatums:

    Don’t threaten to leave the company if your request for a raise is not met. This can come across as manipulative and may damage your professional reputation. Women who use threats or ultimatums may be perceived as overly aggressive or confrontational, which can clash with societal expectations of female behaviour. It may even result in reduced opportunities or negative performance appraisals in the future.

    3. Personal Financial Issues:

    While it’s okay to mention financial goals or milestones as a reason for seeking a raise, avoid discussing personal financial difficulties or hardships as tempting as it may be during a cost-of-living crisis. If you’ve done your homework right you will have prepared a list of professional results including value you’ve added to the department or business, so keep your conversation focused on your professional accomplishments and the value you bring to the organisation.

    4. Demanding or Entitled Language:

    Phrases like “I deserve a raise” or “I demand a higher salary” can come across as entitled and may put your manager on the defensive. Instead, frame your request in terms of your contributions and the market value of your skills and experience. While I know you’d never do this, it bears saying.

    5. Negative Remarks About the Company:

    Criticising the company, the ELT or your colleagues during a salary negotiation is counterproductive. Stay positive and focus on the strengths of your performance and your contribution to the organisation overall.

    6. Exaggerations or False Claims:

    While gilding the lily might be tempting when it comes to claiming credit for your achievements, it’s best to be honest and transparent about your various contributions and not over extrapolate or claim credit for others work. The sting in the tail for women who do this, will not just undermine your negotiation attempts but can also be damaging to your reputation and career in the long run.

    7. Negative Language or Attitude:

    Maintain a positive and professional demeanour throughout the conversation. Complaining, criticising, bad-mouthing others will all undermine not just your negotiation attempts but your managers view of your professionalism. In fact, if you’re in a bad mood for any reason on the day you are scheduled for a discussion about a raise, I’d consider postponing it until such time as you’re in a better mood. It’s that important.

    By avoiding these language pitfalls and focusing on your professional progress and results, the value you have added to the department or even the company, you can present a compelling case for a raise in a professional and persuasive manner and are more likely to be successful to boot.


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    What My Incredible Clients Have to Say…

    Thank you so much Amanda. You have brought out the best of me and put it on a page.

    Amanda helped me build my digital brand with a strategic approach that’s aligned to my long-term career goals. I learned to add value and richness to my network and customers, and I have a visibility strategy that is above the line and future-focused!

    It’s a blast working with Amanda – I can feel the momentum growing – now a matter of me putting my foot on the pedal to get myself out there in full confidence!


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    To ensure you are never caught out, and are perfectly positioned to put your best foot forward in your career, every time.

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