Salary negotiations shouldn’t be poker

Some people object to my open and honest style of negotiating. They tell me that Texas Hold ’em is the ultimate negotiating style. 

Someone starts out feeling like they pulled off a quick trick on the other guy. What’s next? Do you want to pull another trick? Stick it to them again? Bluff them? Intimidate them?

Do you really want to start a job with those attributes pinned to your shirt?

In this salary poker game you have some cards only you can see. You share some more cards with all the players. You put on a personality at the table. You try to look as harmless or intimidating as possible. When you get your cards you do your best to give small signals of fear, lust, greed or anger. You design your signals to trick your competition into doing something foolish. If you have a great hand you try to appear weak so others will bet stupidly high. If your hand is weak you consider bluffing and making others think you are much stronger. Or you fold and stop betting. You wait for a better hand. 

In poker there is only one winner. You are out to defeat everyone else and amass all the chips. It is a game for the proud, powerful, greedy, deceptive and analytical folks. Sure, it can be played for penny ante with friends, but that is not how the game of legends is played. 

I don’t gamble. I don’t like tricking the other guy. I put all my cards on the table and try to figure out what will work best for everyone. 

Remember, the way you negotiate is the way you will be perceived by your new boss. Do you want to come in as a poker player who always hides his cards, bluffs when he can and goes for all the chips? Or do you want to come in as a team player? 

 Place your bets and play your cards.

 Something to do today

Time to write your accomplishments for the week and month in your job journal. Make a report for your boss that gives him all the information he needs for his reports to his boss.

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