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Dear Viv: Advice for Discerning Communicators
2008, Q3 (October 21, 2008)
By Viv, Chapter Member
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Advice for communicators

Dear Viv,

Do you need some questions? Need someone in need? I have friend who wants to submit a question, but she is shy. So I will submit it for her.

My “friend” worries that the tight economy will soon damper her pocketbook. She would like to ask her management for a raise, but isn’t sure how to go about it. She knows that she is a good worker, valuable to her team, and an asset to her company. But how can she say all of that without sounding like she’s boasting? How can she convince her manager that she deserves a raise when the company is tightening its purse strings?


A friend in need

Dear A friend in need,

Friends, Romans, countrymen, considering the recent plummeting stock market and government bailouts, I advise your friend to take time to build her arsenal now.

  • Develop concrete justification for the raise — not just "I'm a hard worker," but "In the past year, I wrote X manuals, several of which have been adopted by customer service (or won STC awards)..." etc.
  • Work on body language. I recommend What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People by Joe Navarro and Marvin Karlins.
  • If you're nervous, write a script of the conversation you'll (it IS you, right?) have with your boss and practice it.
  • Write down a list of pros and cons of working for your current employer. Perhaps if you're consistently overlooked for a raise, you'll be happier elsewhere.

On the other hand, if your company doesn't budget for your raise now, the money might already be spoken for when you wait for the economy to level out.

On the other hand (the proverbial third hand), you should time the conversation prudently. If your manager is worried about layoffs, it's not the right time to have this conversation.


Viv can be reached at dearviv at stc-carolina dot org. End of article.

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