How to Negotiate like Sheryl Sandberg

If you are a woman with a career then you might often find yourself in a double bind. You feel pressured to fit into the role of a woman as prescribed by the society. If you exhibit any characteristics traditionally associated with men, such as being ambitious and assertive, then your peers see you negatively. Most women reject the cookie cutter image expected of them. Yet, research shows that women tend to underestimate their self-worth and become reluctant to ask for what they really deserve. Sheryl Sandberg almost accepted the first offer she got from Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook when she realized that she should be negotiating for more.

In her book “Lean In,” Sandberg mentions a few tips on negotiation. Based on her tips, here are some examples I devised that you can use in interviews, negotiations, or business meetings. If you want to be able to speak with confidence and show your competence as a professional, this will help you.

1. Speak communally.

Use “We” instead of “I.” Speak as if you care about the growth of the whole company not just yourself. Credit any success to “us.”

“We increased the revenue by 20% last quarter.”

2. Provide an explanation for the negotiation.

Instead of blurting out an X amount of salary or benefits, justify your request by mentioning that someone more senior encouraged the negotiation, or cite industry standards.

“My supervisor suggested I talk about the compensation.”

“My understanding is that jobs that involve this level of responsibility are compensated in this range.

“According to my research, someone with 10 years of experience in this field are compensated in the range of 50k to 60k. Given the results we have brought to this company for the last 12 months, I believe the upper range of that number is fair for someone with my experience and qualifications.”

3. Always be nice, but do not underestimate yourself.

Approach the negotiation like you’re solving a problem rather than being adversarial.

“I want to make sure we are a good fit.”

“Thank you so much for considering me for this position. I understand things are tough these days, but I was wondering if there could be a little more flexibility in the compensation plan.”

It would feel uncomfortable negotiating your salary at first. Practice and get comfortable using these phrases. Whether you realize it or not, you negotiate every day – asking your spouse to do the chore, telling your child to stop watching TV, getting discounts at stores, and asking favors from friends. Fake it till you make it.

How did your negotiation go? What did you say? Share in the comment section below.

About Josh

뉴욕 출신 일본계 미국인. 현재: 비즈니스 영어 강사로서 활동. 전: 서울교육대학교, 파고다 어학원, 현대백화점, 인천도시공사, 동시통역사. 출연: EBSe, JEI 재능, 한국일보. 영어, 한국어, 일본어 가능. 좋아하는 음식은 타코스. Read more »

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