Money is never an easy topic to bring up. That’s why we avoid negotiating pay like we avoid the plague. However, if we fail to have that difficult discussion, chances are, we won’t receive the pay we deserve.
For many physicians, the solution to overcoming a stressful conversation is to simply write an email.
This takes away the awkward silences, the intimidation of talking directly to another person, and helps you think of the best possible words to use.
While the above is all true, email should never be the channel that you use to negotiate pay, and here’s why:
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Email Lacks Personality on Your End
A good negotiator knows that there is much more involved in the process than just words. When entering into a negotiation, you need to be confident and somewhat assertive in what you are requesting.
Without tone of voice, facial expressions, or body language to soften your words, you may come off sounding demanding.
When writing an email and listing off your requests, they can be taken however the person on the other end interprets.
People often misread the tones of emails. You can’t type a smiley face into a professional email and be taken seriously.
Even with the most eloquently written messages, you cannot determine how the email will be read in another person’s head.
This written list of demands can put off your prospective employer so much that they no longer wish to hire you.
Instead, by negotiating face to face you can begin with a friendly introduction, a handshake, and even a quick conversation to lay the tone of the rest of the negotiation.
When you are requesting higher pay or more vacation time, you can do so with body language and a facial expression that will ensure that you are doing so with a good attitude willing to listen to a compromise.
Negotiating pay over email simply leaves you handicap. You cannot determine how your words will be taken. You can’t add personality to your words.
You Don’t Get the Opportunity to Read the Other Person
Just as through email you can’t lend your voice and body language to your words, you can’t see the reaction of the reader either.
Negotiations are a back and forth. The ability to watch the reaction of the person on the other side will give you an edge.
You may be able to distinguish what topics seem to be out of the question and which they are more willing to budge on.
Things as simple as a furrowed brow or leaning back in one’s chair can tell you a lot about how they are taking the requests that you have put forth.
If you notice that one sentence you’ve said isn’t taken well, you can quickly backtrack or provide an alternative.
Without being able to read the reaction of the person you are negotiating with, you lack the ability to switch tactics to put you in a better position.
You lack the ability to find the spots that have more wiggle room and improve your leverage based on that. Real-time negotiations are always in your best interest.
Email Negotiations Can Lead to Misunderstandings
Taking into consideration the above two reasons, it makes sense that email negotiations can get really confusing. Many will lead to misunderstandings on both sides that make the negotiation take a wrong turn.
One word in the wrong place or one word left out can change the meaning of the entire sentence. Typos happen more often than you think, even when you diligently review your words.
Don’t leave this to chance. Don’t negotiate through email!
Even though it may be intimidating, face-to-face negotiations are always the best way to go. If you can’t do that, video calls or phone calls are your next best bet.
To help you stay on track and remember the important points, have notes ready before you go. Practice your negotiation tactics with a friend or in front of the mirror.
Remember that the person on the other side of this conversation is simply a business person. They want to hire you, otherwise, you wouldn’t be having a negotiation.
They expect you to come to the table with some requests. Start by looking up the average salary of someone in your profession. For example, dermatologists earned $419,000/year on average in 2019. Know your worth but be willing to compromise. This is a delicate process that should be done with the utmost respect on both sides.
With reasonable requests, you should be well on your way to becoming a well-compensated new employee.