Negotiating under normal circumstances can be tricky enough, but like everything else, COVID has made it even more difficult. In this post, we tackle some of the common questions that we’ve been getting about how to overcome some of the challenges you all are facing as you try and negotiate in a global pandemic (a sentence we never thought we’d have to write…)
Q: Should I negotiate over the phone, over video, or in person?
All things equal, the closer to in-person, the better. This is because you will get additional information from the other person’s non-verbal cues. Was that pause important, or did they just get distracted? Are they starting to get tired?
That said, the #1 thing is that YOU ARE COMFORTABLE. If you are going to spend the whole time you’re in person worrying about if you are a full 6-ft away, don’t do it. If you think you can put your best foot forward over the phone, do that.
No matter what you choose, ALWAYS send the follow-up email. “Thank you so much for the time. I think we concluded X,Y and Z. Our next steps are……”
Q: Should I just wait to negotiate in person?
Generally speaking, no. First, because we don’t know when “in person” is, and it would stink to miss an entire performance cycle. Second, because even if your company has frozen salaries, etc., you are at least planting the seed and can use this as a pre-sell. In others words, if you truly can’t get anything out of your negotiation, then ask your boss what you need to do to be able to earn the promotion/raise/whatever it is you want during your next performance review. Once a boss tells you exactly what they are looking for, that becomes your map to a great negotiation next time.
Q: It’s my first time negotiating over video – any tips?
Sure! Make sure the basics are covered: the camera is at eye-level (I prop mine up on a shoebox to achieve this), the light is behind the computer (highlighting you), and your background conveys professionalism. For those of you working from a non-professional setting right now, you can use a virtual background in almost every video conference platform. Please no more negotiation conversations with your bed in the background! You can also put things around you that make you feel happy and confident – pictures of your friends and family, a silly note, a motivational quote, etc.