No matter where we are in our professional or personal lives, we can’t avoid those times when we are faced with the need for a tricky conversation. At the moment they seem to be high on many people’s agendas.

This week a journalist from The Guardian reached out to ask for some help with an article she was putting together about the types of tricky conversations people face in life. She was after my thoughts about what to consider when asking for a pay rise.

What makes a conversation tricky for one individual is likely to be very different for another. While some people have no problem asking for a pay rise, when it comes to telling their partner they are leaving them – well that’s even more than tricky.

When I was researching for my book Suddenly Single book, I found tricky conversations of this nature were simply avoided. One lady came home to find her partner had cleared the house and left a note. And that is another article altogether.

So, if asking for a pay rise is something you are thinking about here are a few things to think about to help you prepare.

1. Consider your challenges

When it comes to asking for a pay rise, what is the real challenge for you? When we have to have a conversation with someone more senior, we perceive the stakes to be higher. But are they really? What is the worst that can happen? They say “no”!

2. Plan what you want to say

Plan what you want to say and get really clear in your own mind your BIG why? Think about the value you bring and how does the business benefit from this. Put yourself in the shoes of the business. There may be other things that the business may need to consider that you aren’t aware of so manage your own expectations accordingly.

3. Decide on the right time and environment

 Having the last 5 minutes on a zoom call while your manager is heading off to another call is unlikely to get the best result. You may like to prepare the person in advance. “When would be a good time to have a conversation about my pay?”. If you work with someone who doesn’t like surprises it gives them some time to reflect beforehand.

4. Present your case

Present your case and ask them for their thoughts. Get to the point in the meeting and don’t go all around the houses. If a “yes” isn’t their immediate response, and realistically there may be other conversations to have, then make sure you make an agreement on the next steps so you can follow up if nothing happens.

5. Be prepared for a curveball. 

They might offer you some additional benefits rather than a monetary amount. What would be OK and not OK for you? If they say yes – great – if they say no take some time to reflect on what might be the next step. Don’t get emotional and immediately resign. Work out your options and your next step.

And finally, and most importantly, believe you are worth it.