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One great way to increase your savings is to earn more money. Obvious point, I grant you. However, finding ways to increase your earnings without getting a side hustle leaves you with few other prospects other than asking for a raise, and this is something that many people will avoid like the plague.

There are few things more difficult or awkward than asking your boss for more money. It is a skill that not many of us have, but it is one worth cultivating. Knowing your professional wroth, and feeling confident demanding it, will help you in more ways than just negotiating a higher salary. It will increase confidence, assertiveness, and your professional drive.

Here are the four key points to consider when approaching your boss to negotiate an increase in salary.

Know what you want

Go in to the meeting with a game plan. Take your time and do some calculations; know exactly how much of an increase you want. Saying you want ‘more’ is not enough, and it looks sloppy and unprepared. In your head you should always have a base line figure that you know you are not willing to drop below. This will help when you are negotiating and will stop you getting flustered and agreeing to something you don't want to.

Numbers don't lie.

Be prepared

There are a number of things to prepare before entering into any salary negotiations.

Firstly, do some benchmarking research. Trawl job advertisements and other company websites to find out whether they offer comparable salary and benefits packages. Ascertain where you stand within your industry and how much you should be earning in comparison.

Not only does benchmarking help to gauge where you stand within the industry, but seeing variations within your role in other companies can provide inspiration on how to diversify your own.

For example, if you notice that a similar role in another company encompasses other responsibilities, you can always put this forward to your boss as an idea to emulate, thereby expanding your current role and so justifying even further the increase in salary you are requesting.

Secondly, make a comprehensive list of your accomplishments and successes for the company. Depending on your industry this list will vary, but remember it is important to have a list of concrete evidence of how you have had a positive impact on the company and the what you have achieved on their behalf; be it increased revenue, strengthened brand awareness, new partnership development, etc.

Thirdly, whilst not strictly a recommended practise (as it is highly unprofessional to ask your colleagues what they earn), if you do happen to work with close friends who are open to discussing their salaries and benefits packages etc., then it is always worth getting some informal information on what others around you are earning. Whilst you will definitely not be able to use these anecdotal conversations in your official salary negotiations, it is still useful for you to know if you are being paid on par with your colleagues who hold similar titles or responsibilities to you. Be aware, however, that asking people what they earn is not deemed acceptable in many workplaces and so only do this if you are 100% comfortable with your friend or colleague and you know it will not cause offense or anger.

Know your audience

Once you know who it is you need to negotiate you salary with; be it your boss, or maybe even your boss’s boss, then work on understanding the best way to approach them. Different managers have different ways of working and talking to their staff so it is always beneficial to understand how best to negotiate with them. Some managers are very straightforward, even brusque, whereas others have a much more low key approach.

You will always achieve better results if you take time to understand your audience, even if the final decision doesn’t ultimately lie with them, they will most certainty be asked their professional opinion on the matter and so it’s always better to have them onside than not.

Practise makes perfect

Don’t ever spring a salary negotiation on your boss out of nowhere. Always make sure to approach them beforehand and schedule a meeting in order to talk about things in further detail. Not only will this give them time to prepare, but it gives you time too.

Practise your arguments and key points on your close friends and family so that when you do finally go into that negotiation room you feel confident that you will cover all the topics necessary and you will do so with assertion. Furthermore, your friends may have other suggestions that you have not thought of. Two heads are always better than one.