It’s that time of year—performance review time. You know what you’re going to discuss with your manager: your past performance, things you could improve, your goals for the remainder of the year and the dreaded topic of compensation. And that’s when it gets a little scary.

How do you say with a straight face, “Show me the money!”

Okay, clearly you shouldn’t go all Cuba Gooding Jr. on your boss, but how do you appropriately ask for a raise? It’s a tough conversation, but one that needs to be had. Here are a couple of pointers to negotiate your salary with style and grace.

Know Your Worth

Take some time to reflect on your year. What projects did you work on? What initiatives were you an integral part of? Lay out all of your accomplishments for the year, including statistics (revenue booked, growth, implementation details, etc.). It’s a pain and incredibly tedious, but totally worth it. It’ll take you probably 2, 4 hours max? That’s real, tangible money you could make from those 4 hours of work. Have this material ready when it’s time to go to your manager—plus you’ll come across as prepared, poised and confident.

Do Your Research

Not only should you have clear reasons as to how your performance is deserving of a raise, you should also take a peek into the market to see what other companies are paying. The beauty of a site like Glassdoor is that this type of information is readily available. Check out your city, your position and what others are being paid. This could help you build your case with your boss. It’s also a great tactic to use when negotiating a salary for a brand new job.

Script it Out

Plan out how you’re going to bring it up with your manager. When the time comes for him or her to talk compensation, start off with something like this:

“I really love my job here and being a part of this team gets me excited to come to work every day. I was reflecting on this past year and I’m really proud of the work I’ve accomplished [insert the slew of things you’ve helped the company and team achieve]. And based off where I’m seeing the company going and my performance, I’d love to start having conversations about my career trajectory—particularly surrounding promotion plans. I think I’m ready for more responsibility because of [x,y,z reasons] and would love to be compensated appropriately as well. I did some research on the market and have found that people in my position make an average of X—could we set up some time to talk through what else I would need to do in order to receive a promotion and raise?”

Here you are reiterating your past achievements and future ambition. You also are showing that you’ve done your research, know what you’re worth, and are gently easing into the conversation surrounding pay and promotion. By asking to set aside time outside your review takes the pressure off your manager and allows him or her the opportunity to get their ducks in a row as well.

Asking for a raise doesn’t have to be intimidating. With the right combination of confidence, research and preparedness—you’ll be setting yourself up for negotiating success.

Did you break into hives just reading this article? What fears do you have? Are they valid or just a stumbling block on the way to a better career? Take some time to think about this article and prepare yourself to act!

Jena Viviano
Jena Viviano

Jena is an ex-Wall Streeter turned career coach and entrepreneur who helps go-getter professionals articulate their personal branded career story to land their dream jobs. For fun, you can find her mulling over faith & work theology, exploring Nashville and the checking out the best wine bars in town.

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