10 ways to get what you want


When it's time to negotiate, don't be a doormat or a bully. Use these tips to find common ground.

1. Define what you want, whether it's vacation time, training, or a schedule change.

2. Answer the "why" question. You're more likely to get a "yes" when you ask for a schedule change, for example, if your boss knows you're enrolled in a leadership class that starts at 6 p.m.

3. Outline how your request benefits others. If you obtain dental training, will your practice be able to perform more cleanings?

4. Practice making your request. Role-playing is a great tool to hone your argument, so prepare to answer questions about how a computer class will help you maximize your practice's software capabilities and improve the bottom line.

5. If you get a "no," don't give up. It may be time to reframe the request. This is where you should explore the interests you and your boss or co-worker share. Is there another option that would help you both?

6. Look for objective criteria to offer guidance. Citing facts such as professional standards, market value, and printed hospital policies could give your position more credibility.

7. Be flexible. If you can't get exactly what you want, what's the next best thing? If you go into a conversation believing there's more than one positive outcome, you'll probably walk away happy.

8. Listen to others' views. Sometimes you'll find another solution you like even better than what you originally wanted. For example, maybe the boss will offer a few more paid vacation days in lieu of the raise you were seeking.

9. Attack the problem, not the person. Treat your managers and co-workers as allies who will help you create a solution and work together on common ground.

10. Be gracious. When you get what you want, say thanks. And if you don't get it, say "Thanks for considering my request. I appreciate your time." You're far more likely to get what you want the next time.

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Angela Elia, BS, LVT, CVT, VTS (ECC)
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