On this episode of Work/Life, host Greg Nibler sits down with Ciara Pressler, founder and author of Pregame, to discuss one of the harder aspects of working life: Communicating what you’re worth. How do you figure out your own worth? How does one go about discussing their worth with a boss, or for your next job? What do you say? And how do you say it? Pressler is on hand to give tips and context to finding your own voice and clearly communicating your value.
First of all, Pressler notes, “you are constantly communicating what you’re worth.” The way you dress is one clear way, but Pressler encourages digging deeper. “If you are in meetings, own your place and sit up front, not the outskirts. Speak up when you have a chance to speak up. Say what you have to say.” And speak confidently and directly. “Don’t end your sentences with the ‘question mark’ of an upper inflection,” Pressler warns. “End with a period, because your opinion is worth considering.”
Additionally, says Pressler, the work environment isn’t the place for wishy-washy phrases like, “I feel like,” or other softening language. “Be straight up,” she says. “You’re not just saying something you feel, it’s something you’re recommending, or have researched. Don’t couch your language in a way that makes it easily dismissed.”
Pressler also recommends keeping track of your accomplishments to have a solid metric of your successes. “Keep a list of things you’ve accomplished, and how you’ve added value to your company,” she says. “Have your suggestions and leadership saved the company money? Has it taken away stress? Have you brought in new business relationships? What is the value?” And say it clearly. “Take credit for your accomplishments. You have to shout yourself out, absolutely.”
Pressler says that it’s especially important to own your time and set up professional boundaries. “Don’t answer your work phone at 2 in the morning,” for example. And if you’re a consultant or do professional advising, be clear about people asking for your time and advice for free. Your expertise is your business and should be treated that way.
Finally, Pressler says, give yourself enough time to focus on your business and personal goals. Knowing where you are headed and what it takes to get there will increase your own view of the work you’ve done, and can help quantify it to someone unfamiliar with your work.
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