Confidence impacts outcomes.

You know this, you believe this, you’ve seen this. Now the question is, how can you leverage this? Or, how can you gain and then leverage confidence in your next negotiation?

When we tie confidence to negotiations, we’re not talking about a “go for the jugular approach” or being confident that you will dominate. That’s not confidence, that’s arrogance, and the “I win, you lose” mindset rarely wins a negotiation.

Rather, we’re talking about confidence in your value, your company’s value of the value of your product or service. Since underconfident negotiators only succeed 20 percent of the time, one could argue that arming yourself to negotiate like a ninja is the single most important factor to ensure favorable results. Think about that. Would you hire a surgeon who is only successful 20 percent of the time?

Confidence impacts outcomes.

Let’s play this out with a typical salary negotiation.

Acing your interview and being offered the job is just the beginning. Now you get to negotiate your salary! If approached with confidence, this can be a powerful and fun experience that will shape your future earnings exponentially. Yes, I did say “fun” and “salary negotiation” in the same sentence. Stay with me on this one.

Let’s say you’re offered a position at $70,000/year. This salary is the floor for all future negotiations, bonuses, payouts and micro-raises. As such, you’d better make it count — so why not ask for more? Guess how much 3 percent more on that $70,000 means over a 40-year career? $84,000.

That’s without interest. Think about it: that initial $2,100 doesn’t sound like much, but over 40 years it adds up to $84,000 — another year of pay.

This “small gain, big impact” philosophy isn’t only for those just starting out. If you’re at the top of your salary game and already earning more than most, think about how many additional dollars in your pocket just 1 percent more will mean. To you. Your family. Your quality of life.

If you’re ready to start asking for more, what follows are a few proven tactics which offer a clear, almost forensic approach to framing your negotiations. Here we’re talking about salary, but these work for anything.

Rethink Your Approach.

Surprise! Women are often more successful than men in negotiations. Successful female negotiators use tactics which come naturally to them rather than try to overcompensate or “act like a man.” We’re not men, we’re women. And when you show up with confidence and knowing your worth, they won’t see you coming.

Determine Your “Walk Away.”

This is your bottom line. The amount at which you will be prepared to support your position, and if this number is not met, you will walk away. Use salary websites to determine a realistic expectation, then factor in your specific experience. You should negotiate to receive a package which reflects how your unique contribution will benefit the company.

Another benefit of having your walk away ready? Knowing what you will and will not accept provides the foundation for you to really talk — and to really be heard. You can listen and have productive dialogue because you won’t be trying to figure out the math on the fly. You already know the math because you brought the math. You included the math as part of your game plan and can now calmly and persuasively explain your math.


Money has long been a taboo topic among women, and women rarely discuss salary with other women. Or men. Money talk can create tension and hard feelings. I recommend the idea of discussing salary in the spirit of arming your colleagues with the information they need in order to negotiate from a position of knowledge. I’m not suggesting you go out and broadcast your salary, or demand to know what your best friend is earning. I’m suggesting that you start a conversation. You can talk in ranges, generalities, prior positions, ballparks, or anything which provides more data for you to feel confident about your value. Your confidence in cold, hard facts will be critical to determine and stand by your walk-away number.

In summary, negotiating like a ninja is pretty simple. Start the conversation, get informed, know your worth, then use these tools to advocate for yourself and your position.