After a while, the number on your paycheck might not feel like it reflects the amount of work you put in day-in and day-out. When you hit a point of feeling like your late nights in the office or impressive results aren’t being fairly compensated, it’s time to ask for a raise. But to be successful in negotiating with your boss, there are a few things you need to prepare before entering the corner office to discuss numbers.

Understand The Industry Average

While you may have a certain number in your head that you’re aiming for, researching industry averages for your profession is the first step. Going into the conversation well-educated on the subject will position you to feel more confident in your request. In addition, this will help set expectations and ensure that you aren’t asking for an unreasonable amount.

Practice Makes Perfect

You know what they say — practice makes perfect. Although you can’t predict exactly where the conversation will go, having talking points prepared and practicing will help you stay on track. Knowing what you hope to get out of the conversation ahead of time is key so that you don’t forget anything important that might help your case.

Make It About You

When you find out you’re getting paid less than your cubicle mate, it can be tempting to bring this up to your boss. Unfortunately, this can’t be used in your salary negotiations, no matter how badly you want to let them know you’re aware of the imbalance. Instead, make the conversation about the hard work you’ve put in, the results you’ve attained for the company, and what you feel you’ve earned.

Separate Personal Feelings From Business Transactions

It’s easy to get emotional during a tough conversation with your boss, but it’s important to keep it professional. At the end of the day, you’ll gain more credibility and respect if you’re able to calmly explain your position. If you feel tears coming on, here’s a trick: push your toes into the floor to stop yourself from crying without anyone noticing.

Walk Away When You Feel Walked Over

Sometimes, your company just won’t budge. Whether it’s their financial situation or a lack of appreciation, there’s not much more you can do once you have the conversation and they tell you no. Know your worth and what you’re willing to accept. If your happiness is being compromised, it might be time to look at other opportunities. Oftentimes, you can get a larger pay raise when switching companies.