One way to check your emotion at the door when you ask for a promotion is to develop an elevator speech.  This means stating your claims in less than 30 seconds. 

You’ve heard of an elevator speech to pitch policy to legislators.  Use this same technique to pitch your request to your employer.

The brilliant thing about an elevator speech is that it is brief and concise.  So, you must be able to answer the following questions in one sentence.

  1. What do you want?
  2. Why do you want it?
  3. Why do you deserve it?
  4. What do you want? (again, but in a different manner…see explanation below)
  5. How does the employer benefit from giving it to you?

Example 1

I want to be promoted to operations director with a 7% raise in salary (1). This will allow me to develop and implement a greater number of cost saving initiatives (2).  I saved the organization $20,000 this year by eliminating the need for a part-time assistant (3).  I request to be placed in a position that will provide more autonomy, authority, and time to direct cost saving and profitable programs (4).  Investing in me in this manner will benefit the organizations bottom line by increasing the profit margin (5).

Example 2

I am requesting a travel stipend of $3000 (1).  I will use this stipend to cover professional education expenses (2).  With my help, the pediatric population has doubled and we are providing services to twice as many children as we did one year ago (3).  I want to expand my formal education and earn a certificate in pediatric specialty (4).  This way, the organization we will be able to provide specialty services at a higher reimbursement rate (5).

Example 3

I am asking for a 4% raise (1).  This will allow me to live more comfortably and save for my future (2).  I have become more efficient in my position and can accomplish more work than I could last year (3).  I am requesting a pay raise that is commensurate with my experience and with cost of living (4).  The organization will benefit through higher retention and recruitment (5).

State Your Request Twice

As you can see, you get the opportunity to make your request twice.  The first time will be very concise while the second time tells your employer the value of your request.  Truth is, you should be more concerned about fulfilling those underlying values whether it comes with any specific titles or financial figures. 

For example, you may request to be promoted from supervisor I to supervisor II. In your mind, this allows you to direct your efforts to different responsibilities that you find more challenging and rewarding. (And, of course, you get paid more for doing this.)

However, your employer may believe you have different motives…such as the prestige of a title change or that you are solely interested in a pay raise.  Or your employer may not be able to change your title or give you a set amount of money. 

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” – William Shakespeare

Give your employer the opportunity to meet your needs without “giving it a name”.  They may be able to change your responsibilities and compensation without changing your title.  They may be able to reimburse all your costs associated with professional education without creating a stipend or expense account.

Make sure you are focused on what you really want…not the name of what you want. 

  • Side tip: Notice of the above examples, the last one is the weakest.  This is because it is hard to ask for more money to perform a job that you are already completing.  Let this be a tip for future job offer and promotion negotiations…clarify a specific workload.  That way, when the number of clients you see or accounts you manage or the employees you supervise inherently increases, you will have a justification for a raise or to hire assistance. 

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