getting a raise
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How to get a raise using the art of persuasion

2 Feb 2018

The reasons for wanting a raise are self-evident, but getting one is an entirely different matter. Here’s how you can use the art of persuasion to get the result you want.

Even if you feel like you deserve one, asking for a raise can be pretty terrifying.

It’s not enough for you to know yourself that you’ve put in the hours and met your targets; you also have to be assured that this is apparent to your employer, and there are a number of mitigating factors that can determine that. So, what’s the solution?

According to the team at CashNetUSA, the answer lies in the wisdom of best-selling author and psychologist Robert Cialdini, whose 1984 book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion has sold more than 3m copies.

The pillars of Cialdini’s theory can easily be applied to your attempts to get a raise. One of the six central facets of his persuasion theory, for example, is that ‘scarcity’ generates demand, an idea that commonly manifests in ‘limited time only’ offers leveraged by marketers.

You could apply this by very delicately using another job offer to strengthen your case – the idea of losing you as an employee may inspire your employer to act. It’s worth noting, however, that this is something that should be executed carefully. It’s what could be described as the ‘high-risk, high-reward’ move.

Cialdini’s research also revealed that we warm more easily to people that are similar to us. You could attempt to reinforce similarities by mirroring body language. For obvious reasons, your employer liking you increases your chances of getting a raise.

This is another one of those methods that has to be done with finesse, or else your attempts at social engineering will be too blatant. Most attempts at persuasion, even ones utilising the methods backed by research, can fail if what you’re trying to do is too obvious. People, especially your boss, generally don’t like to feel manipulated.

Another handy tip – from Aristotle this time, not Cialdini – is to speak about yourself and your actions in the workplace in the future tense. Refer to things that you want to do in the future, and this will both affirm your commitment to the company, and make it clear that you’re thinking ahead of how you can make the best possible contribution to your environment.

For some more guidance, check out the infographic below.

Image: CashNetUSA

Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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