Interviewing? This is How You Answer the Money Question

Interviewing? This is How You Answer the Money Question

July 18, 2020

When you are in an interview, how do you answer the question, “What are your salary expectations?’

The simple answer is: “You don’t.”


If the number that you give exceeds the salary budgeted for this role, you could put yourself out of contention before you’ve even begun.

If you list a number that you think may be a lower salary, you may put yourself in a position to work for less than you are worth.

Regardless… If you answer this question at all, you begin negotiating your pay before you even know if you want the job.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you’re shopping for a used car. You’ve got your eye on a car on the lot, but you haven’t taken a good look at it yet. The salesman asks you: “How much do you want to pay?”

Would you give him a number?

Or would you say, “I don’t have a number yet because I haven’t looked under the hood, inside the car, or taken it for a drive. Until I do, we can’t talk about that number.”

Your salary discussion should run the exact same way. 

Until you have a solid sense of the position, the work you’d be doing, the people you’d work with, the people who would manage you, a sense of the business culture, and all of the particulars, it’s best not to answer this question.

Honestly, it’s hard to have an accurate number without all of that information!

So, what should you say?

There are a couple of ways that you can answer the question, “What are you expecting for a salary?” that will increase your chances of negotiating for a higher one when you receive an offer.


“I don’t have an exact number in mind because I do not know enough about the role, responsibilities, challenges, or the company. Can you give me the salary range for this role?”

If the range they give is within the range of what you were hoping, your response can then be: “That fits within my range. Thank you for sharing it.”

If they tell you that they cannot share that information, you can say: “I understand. Thank you.” And then take note of this as a useful piece of information about the organization that you’re thinking about working for.


“Can we table this discussion later in the interview, after I’ve heard more about the expectations, responsibilities, and challenges of the position?”

This delays the conversation until a later time when you will have more of the information you need to represent yourself well in the salary negotiation.

Regardless of which option you go with, choosing to not answer the salary expectations question too soon in the process puts you in a better position to negotiate for a higher salary when you receive an offer!

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Five Easy Tips to Move From Small Talk to Building Relationships

Five Easy Tips to Move From Small Talk to Building Relationships

July 6, 2020

When you meet someone for the first time, what do you say? Beyond the initial introduction and a discussion about the weather, what comes next?

That initial part of a conversation with someone you don’t yet know can feel incredibly uncomfortable. But if you handle it smoothly, it will enable you to leave a positive impression and launch a professional relationship

The important question that we want to focus on here is: How do you move from small talk into a conversation that builds relationships?

When you know the answer to this question, you can more easily:

  • Grow more comfortable with small talk, knowing it is only the beginning
  • Engage in smoother conversations with people you don’t yet know
  • Relax into a relationship-building conversation with confidence

The tips that I share below are specifically intended to help you feel comfortable moving from small talk into a conversation. If that goes well and you feel a connection, you can work on building a relationship.

Tip #1: Create a great first impression

To start off on the right foot, look the person in the eye and say, “It is nice to meet you,” and then SAY THEIR NAME.

Acknowledging the person’s name is especially important as it helps you remember it and makes the other person feel special.

If you do not catch the person’s name, you can say “I’m happy to meet you, but I did not catch your name…?”

If they have a name that is difficult to pronounce, it’s a great opportunity to focus on them and show respect. Say “Can you pronounce your name again? I want to make sure I say it correctly.”

Congratulations, you have made a great first impression and you have only just begun!  

Tip #2: Initiate the conversation 

When you are introduced to someone or if you introduce yourself, I recommend that you step into the role of the initiator.  

As the initiator, you can take the lead and ask the other person questions before you begin to talk about yourself. In other words, you should focus on them before you focus on yourself.

Here are some useful questions to get you started:

  • “What brought you to this event today?”
  • “Where did you travel in from?”
  • “What to you do?” or “Can you tell me more about what you do?”

These questions are a step up from small talk because they create the opportunity for longer turn-taking, telling stories, and interactive engagement.

Tip #3: Keep it going

When your conversation partner answers your initial question, continue to focus on them by asking more questions about the topic at hand. Listen carefully to what they say and draw from it to ask your next question to keep the conversation going.

Keep the focus on the other person longer than you usually would. This will help you learn about the other person before you start talking about yourself. This makes them feel important and special, which will warm them up to you.

Tip #4: Choose to be interested

One of the secrets to relationship building is to be genuinely interested in what others say. Share your excitement about what they are saying by using great eye contact and actively responding.

If they’ve only just begun to talk and try to turn the focus on to you, you can say something like:

  • “Before I tell you about my plans, I would love to hear more about yours.”
  • “Before I answer your question, I’d like to hear more about what you were just saying…”

This is a fantastic way to express your interest!

Tip #5: Take Your Turn

When it does come time to talk about yourself, you are now in a position of strength! You know enough about the other person that you can draw on it as you talk about you.

Whether you are answering the same question or a totally different one, do your best to relate it back to what your conversational partner has said.

Use one of these quick statements to make that connection:

  • “Just like you…”
  • “When you said X it reminded me of…”
  • “I completely understood when you said X because…”

Don’t hold your turn too long. Ask them additional questions to show your interest in their thoughts and ideas. Your active interest will make them feel good about themselves, and they will remember that about you.

I hope these tips help you feel more comfortable about easing into a conversation and even developing a relationship beyond your initial meeting.

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Are the things you say to yourself holding you back?

Are the things you say to yourself holding you back?

May 17, 2020

This topic of our beliefs is covered in chapter two of my book, You, You, Me, You: The Art of Talking to People, Networking and Building Relationships.

I wanted to take a deeper dive into how you can change the messages from your past to help pave the way for healthier personal and professional relationships.

Do you feel worthy and deserving of the best life has to offer? I certainly hope so!

However, many people do not feel worthy and have held onto to their negative beliefs all their lives. They might have been true at some time in your life, but are they still true today?

Our beliefs are engrained in us from the messages we heard from early childhood that carry us into adulthood. 

One clear positive message I heard often from my father from when I was very young was, “Honey, honey, honey, of course you can do it.” Hearing him say this engrained it in my belief system. I still hear his voice today.

Sometimes our beliefs lift us up, and sometimes they hold us back from taking on a project, achieving a goal, believing in our abilities, or just feeling good about ourselves. We hold onto “I am not good enough (or smart, talented, pretty, etc.)” because we don’t understand that these beliefs have somehow become our truth.  We hold onto the positive messages, but people sometimes hold onto the negative ones more. Those negative beliefs can be incredibly powerful!

I know that exploring the past can be daunting and painful, and there are memories you might prefer to forget. However, exploring those memories will help you understand more about yourself.  Joseph Campbell, American Professor of Literature whose work covered many aspects of the human experience once said, “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”

For instance, growing up I often heard I was too sensitive because my feelings would get hurt easily. I would feel so badly about a situation and then my father would say “Honey, honey, honey, you are making a mountain out of a mole hill.” The message I heard was that being sensitive was not a good thing.

Fast forward to adulthood where I am in a field where I help people, and I have found that being sensitive is an asset and a strength. I have changed the message about being sensitive from a bad thing to a positive one.  It took work to change the negative belief of “being too sensitive,” but I’ve done it!

How did I change my belief? By listening to the newer messages people were telling me and watching how people were reacting to my being sensitive to their needs.

What if some of the negative messages you heard when you were younger weren’t actually true?  Have you ever challenged them and asked yourself, “Are these really true? Even if they were… do they mean the same thing today??

One final example of how our beliefs can sometimes not serve us well is found in the journey to becoming a parent.  I have heard many times, “I want to give my child what I did not have.” Maybe growing up they lacked affection, or material goods, or wish they could have attended an Ivy League University. Parents want to live the life they wish they had through their children.

It makes me think, “What makes the parent believe that their child wants what they didn’t get?” Don’t you want to give your children what they want and need? You cannot go back to your childhood to give you what you did not get, but you can give your adult self a variation of what was missing from your childhood. I believe that a healthier belief system makes for a stronger parent.

So, what limiting self-beliefs are you currently holding onto? And how do YOU know them to be TRUE?

  • Do you want to stop feeling so badly about yourself?
  • Do you want to ask to be on a challenging project?
  • Do you want to feel confident during the next staff meeting or presentation?

Now is Your time to take some action with these steps one at a time. 

  1. Uncover your limiting self-beliefs. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and be as honest with yourself as possible. It might be painful at first and it is a great beginning. Start by drawing at T on a piece of paper where on one side you write down all the beliefs you have about yourself – both positive and negative. On the other side of the T indicate if you believe them to be true or false.
  2. Understand the origin. This step will help you gain an understanding of how and why you have those beliefs. This is not about placing blame; rather, it will give you insight about where the things you believe came from. Ask a family member you trust to talk about your childhood with the intention of learning more of how you were raised. Steven Covey suggests that we “seek to understand.” This is good to remember at this step.
  3. Work on letting go at your own pace. Decide which messages you want to work on changing based on your list.  Seek help, read books, listen to podcast, or even hire a coach or counselor who can guide you through the process. Be patient and loving with yourself too as this will take time to let go.

As children, we take in all kinds of messages that form our beliefs about ourselves and others. These messages help us develop our behaviors, habits, and our belief system into adulthood. As children, we do not have the whereabouts to understand the why or the tools to make changes. However, as adults you begin to understand yourself more deeply and life’s situations triggers some of those not so positive messages you heard from childhood.

If you have beliefs that are holding you back from having unhealthy relationships and situations in your personal and professional life, it is not too late to take responsibility as an adult. You are not responsible for what happened or did not happen to you as children. However, you are responsible for what happens to you as an adult.

Your life matters and you matter too. I have the utmost confidence in your ability to uncover and let go of your limited beliefs that has prevented you from achieving your greatness!

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