Developing the courage to ask for what you want sounds easy as 1, 2, 3. If we, as women, directly asked for what we want all the time, then the truth is that we’d probably advance a lot quicker in our careers, businesses and relationships. But the fear of being rejected or not being liked, or being perceived as uncooperative holds us back from speaking up at times. Am I alone on this?

Think about it, from young we are told to behave like a lady, to be prim and proper at all times. If we act out of line or character in the office or even in our relationships, we get pinned as being caught in our emotions. We complain about our jobs, bosses, co-workers, boyfriends and husbands; but have you ever stopped to think about how much power you have by just asking for what it is that you want?

Men don’t normally go around complaining about being overlooked for a raise, because most of the time, they are in front of their manager’s face asking for more, without the fear. Whether it is for a raise, more vacation time, or a promotion, men are less fearless at asking for what they want. Women on the other hand, tend to start off the conversation for asking for raise with an apology and a sappy face. “I’m sorry to bother you with this but…” Who is really going to take us seriously if that’s how we go into a negotiation meeting. We’ve lost before the conversation even started. We feel that we are being a “bother” or we feel our manager will not like us and then fire us and that’s the problem! As women, we “feel” too much. Stop feeling and gather up the courage to just ASK. I’m not saying walk around with a spirit of entitlement and greed, what I’m saying is it’s time to get in the game and play. Yes, the business world is a game and the quicker you accept that, the quicker you can suit up and start strategizing your moves. In this game, it’s about being respected and not all about being liked, not everyone will like you and that is fine.

This is not to make you feel defeated, I am talking to myself here too. I still deal with that fear of not being liked or of “asking for too much”. But ever since I started talking back to that fear and just ask for whatever it is that I want, I have seen some great results. You’d be amazed at what you can get out of life, if you just opened your mouth and asked for it. Even in our relationships, this habit comes into play. We all know the scenario where you’re dating a guy for a few months and now you want to take it to the next step. Instead of asking this person, “We’ve been dating for a while now, and I’d like to take this relationship to the next level. Where is it that you see this going?” We avoid the question, afraid of being labeled as “that girl” and keep hoping that he’ll bring it up and then get upset when a year down the line, he tells you that he doesn’t want to take it any further. Ladies, it time we gained the courage to always ask for what it is that you want. And you never know what the outcome may be. So here are some tips on how to gain the confidence to ask for a raise, which is something that I know plenty of you may struggle with.

**This of course considering that the raised is deserved after the work, achievements and sufficient amount of time**

  1. Come to conversation prepared. Make sure that you have an outline of all the accomplishments and efforts that you have contributed to the company. It should be detailed. No one cares about who you have to feed or what financial struggles you may have, keep the outline to what you’ve done for the company. Also, make sure that you’re manager has a copy of the outline prior to the conversation.
  2. Be aware of your company’s financial situation. If you know your company isn’t in the best financial conditions, take that into consideration when going into your meeting.
  3. Be direct in your question and avoid ending your question with a smile or joke. We tend to smile or joke around to divert the intensity of the conversation but that just makes you look less competent. Speak articulately and slowly so that your manager completely understands what you are saying.
  4. Be confident in yourself and what it is that you’re asking for. Know your worth and deny the thoughts of fear. If you dwell on those thoughts of fear, then your words and actions will soon follow.
  5. When negotiating for a raise, don’t ask a question that can be answered in a yes or no. For example, you can ask, “can I get a raise?” Or you can say, “After reviewing my accomplishments and contributions to this company, I’m considering a 12% or 15% raise. Which one is best for you?” The ladder question gets you into a conversation with your manager, as opposed to your manager simply saying no to your raise. Also, if you really want a 12% raise, then make sure that you mention that as the lower option. It’s likely that your manager will go along the lower end of your bargain. And who knows, you just may end up with that 15%.
  6. If you can’t get more money, then explore your options. Consider asking for more vacation time, a promotion or to be reimbursed for a course that will make you a better asset to the organization. Think about what you want.
  7. When you and your manager come to an agreement, please get it in writing and don’t start “feeling” like you’re asking for too much. There is no powerful man that I know, that wouldn’t do this. It’s business first! Even if it’s in an email, keep your paper trail.
  8. The worst that can happen is that you get denied for what it is that you’re asking for. Ask you manager if you can revisit this in a few months.
  9. And if you’re not happy with your outcome, then start to take the outline of accomplishments and start looking to branch out to another company that is willing to compensate you more. They are always out there, stop being fearful and look for the opportunities. Ask your contacts, develop your LinkedIn page and update your resume.
  10. Be proud of yourself and your success, you’re in the game now. Start thinking of what you want to ask for next!