One of the biggest tips I give my salary negotiation clients is around emotional distancing. Why? Emotional distancing helps you with 3 key elements of the process:

  • Thinking straight
  • Not taking things personally
  • Waiting
Are you resigned to the thought of being an emotional wreck during salary negotiations? You don't have to be. Emotional distancing is key to your success! #salarynegotiations #jobsearchtips #careerchange Click To Tweet

Thinking straight

Salary negotiations are pretty nerve-racking, even for folks who’ve done it multiple times. You’re trying to remember a bunch of things and show up as strong and competent.

Anything you can do to remove the emotion from the conversations will allow your brain to move away from the “fight-or-flight” reflex and back to more logical and rational responses and decision-making.

One of the best things that can help you with emotional distancing is preparation. Plan for your conversation by creating response scripts for every scenario you can think of. Then practice – out loud – until you can deliver those responses clearly and smoothly.

Not taking things personally

When it comes to salary negotiations, don’t take things personally! Knowing how much I give this advice, it’s probably #2 on my list (#1 is “don’t be a jerk!”). Remember, salary negotiation is a business transaction, not a personal one, even though the results affect you directly.

When you have a bit of emotional distancing, it’s way easier not to take things personally. What a company is willing to pay says more about how they value the job than about how they value you as a person.


There’s a ton of waiting that goes on with salary negotiation, and the more complex your package is, the more waiting there’s likely to be. Not only that, but your ability to not let the waiting phase you can make the difference between successful negotiations and those that are less so.

Once you have your initial conversation with your recruiter or hiring manager where you ask questions and make requests, it’s almost certain that you’ll need to wait to hear back. Without emotional distancing, it’s easy to fill in the blank spaces with weird paranoid thoughts (“Are they taking so long because they don’t think I deserve it?” “Are they punishing me for asking for more money?” “They are probably interviewing someone else they think they could get cheaper!”). But when you have a little more emotional distance, you’ll likely be able to weather the wait calmly. Or at least more calmly!

Think straight, don’t take things personally, and learn to wait well, all courtesy of your emotional distancing. Want a partner? Check out my salary negotiation coaching services.