10/03/2014 12:28 pm ET Updated Dec 03, 2014

Having It All: Debunking 4 Negotiation Myths

It's common knowledge that women earn less than men for the same job. A study shows that there is almost an 8 percent difference in the salaries of men and women MBA graduates because women are asking for less. A lot of this lack of negotiation comes from women having fears and anxieties about initiating the tough conversation about compensation. After talking with a few of my female peers, I have decided to debunk some of the misconceptions women have around negotiating.
  • I can't have it all. Of course you can! You may have to reevaluate, strategize, and come up with different options, but you can achieve your goals. The key to negotiation is flexibility. Determine what is and isn't negotiable early on in the process. There are many things you can negotiate outside of your base salary, such as vacation time, start time, working from home, etc. Figure out what things your employer has to offer, then create your best, acceptable, and worst case scenarios. Keep an open mind and remain strong.
  • If they wanted to give me more, they'd offer it. No, no, no. Your employer's goal is the get the most qualified person for a position at the lowest cost to them. When you fail to negotiate your salary, you are literally turning down money. Every raise or bonus that you receive will be based on that starting salary. For example, if you start off making $35,000 and receive an increase of 3 percent, your new salary is now $36,050. Let's say you negotiated your first salary from $35,000 to $38,000. A 3 percent increase in your salary would put you at $39,140. It is only a $90 difference in raise amounts. But, taking into account that the higher the base, the higher the raise. Think of the possibilities with those excess residual funds.
  • I don't know how much to ask for. In this technological era, there are so many resources that will not only help you find out what the market price is for a position is, but there are tools that will help you determine what your education and experience are worth in certain industries. Equip yourself with the tools to have an informed conversation about what you deserve. It is for exactly this reason that my consulting firm, Keating Advisors, has created the Know Your Worth Report -- a customized compensation report that gives you YOUR market value.
  • All I need to do is argue facts and numbers. Not quite. Other factors like timing, confidence, and your actions before you engage in the conversation around negotiation are equally, if not more, important than just the facts and figures. Keep track of all your accomplishments so what when you discuss your case to your supervisor it is a conversation focused on the mutually beneficial arrangement you already have established. Presenting information before budgets for the year are approved is also a good tactic to make sure there are funds and resources to accommodate your requests.

At the very core we have a system that perpetuates the mistreatment of women. As much as we would like to depend on our businesses and legislators to protect women from what at first seem like minor injustices, its time we take matters into our own hands and ask!

Keating Advisors offers comprehensive Compensation and Negotiation Coaching. For more information visit the Keating Advisors website.