noun: value

the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.

Creating and claiming value are two of the most fundamental aspects of negotiation strategy that exist in tension with one another. Any negotiation requires participants to choose to be cooperative, competitive or a little of both. Ideally, through the cooperative process of interest-based “bargaining” parties find ways to increase the amount of benefit to be shared. 

Talking about money or salary is an already uncomfortable conversation for most and in negotiating either, it often invites us to explore how we value ourselves. During the recent webinar “How to Ask for the Queso” a brief overview of salary negotiations, we collectively (re) discovered the value of vulnerability in negotiations - to ourselves, the prospective (or current) employer and our communities. 

In preparing for our conversation, I discovered a wide range and availability of gender bias research in salary negations; and was hard pressed to find credible resources addressing the systemic barriers to race. 

While the “mechanics” of salary negotiation are fairly straightforward as reviewed in the webinar: know your value, know your value, target salary and practice, I was keenly aware that defining, communicating and demonstrating value during a salary negotiation are much more complex when seen through a a cultural and/or racial lens. 

Defining our value requires us to explore our deeply held personal messages, ideas, and attitudes about ourselves and our relationship to money and/or salary. The act of asking for (more) money and/or (more/other) benefits, or crafting a personal value statement supported by accomplishments, skills/experience, and impact is complex enough. We owe it to ourselves to take time in finding and providing context and language that may help dismantle personally limiting beliefs and support us in asking for and demonstrating fair market value. 

Communicating  and demonstrating our belief that we deserve full consideration requires an honest evaluation of what we have to offer an organization. There is simply no substitute for a prepared negotiation strategy and practice, practice, practice to achieve an offer worthy of fair market value, at a minimum. 

Negotiation is a key life skill that requires self-awareness and a good understanding of the human psyche. Being vulnerable about our own fears and concerns preparing for and in salary negotiation is less about confrontation and more about creating an opportunity to seek what you deserve. Know your value, what do YOU deserve? 

“Someone told you you were a piece of gold and you blushed, thinking it a compliment. You are the entire gold mine. Raise your value.” Jaiya John 



The American Association of University Women offers a free, two-hour, on-line salary negotiation workshop.

Most Americans Believe Gender Pay Gap Is Due to Bias:


About the author:
Jeanette Honermann is an accomplished, innovative facilitator with decades of public sector and nonprofit leadership experience, creating measurable community and economic development initiatives and impact. 

Passionately curious about the relationship between wellness and nature, she is a certified meditation instructor focused on building everyday awareness. 
A local community advocate for embracing change, Jeanette is a firm believer in the benefits of nature for growing tomorrow’s leaders and is continuously inspired by her niece and nephews to play harder (outside). 

She currently serves as Outreach and Outdoor Programs Market Coordinator for REI, in San Antonio Texas where she supports local outdoor organizations and the community to #OptOutside.