How to Talk to Your Boss Under Every Circumstance

Posted on May 6, 2021

Some employees are able to build relationships with their bosses by either staying with the same company for several years, by entering a position under someone they know, and so on. Not everyone has the luxury of building a relationship with their boss, however. When you and your boss aren't acquainted well, it can be difficult to speak with them when needed.

Do you feel nervous or anxious when preparing to speak to your boss? Do you often give yourself time to build up the courage to address them, only to bail at the last minute? 

Are you constantly trying to discover how to talk to your boss?

Feeling this way is normal and for many employees. Even if your boss isn't an intimidating person, it's still intimidating just thinking about having a conversation with them. 

Are you in need of advice and helpful, professional tips for speaking with your boss? If so, continue reading the guide below to learn how to impress your boss.

The Dos and Don'ts of How to Talk to Your Boss

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When speaking with your boss, there are a few dos and don'ts to know. Be sure to have a good understanding of each before striking a conversation. Here are a few dos to keep in mind. 

The Dos

Do communicate clearly when speaking to your boss. If you have a difficult time speaking clearly when nervous, then consider rehearsing what you'll say before you say it. Give yourself a few days in advance to write out and practice what you're going to say and how you're going to say it.

It's also a good idea to prepare for all possible responses and how you'll react to each one.

You should also take note of your body language. This is something else you can practice at home beforehand. Use a mirror or record yourself while speaking to help you review your body language.

You want to stay in control of it while speaking. Be sure to show value in what you're saying as well. You don't want to make your boss feel as though you're wasting his or her time, so explain to them the value of your words at the beginning of the conversation.

The Don'ts

Although you want your boss to see you as a valuable asset and you want to portray yourself as such as well, it's also important to keep in mind that you don't want to show off either. There's a way to show your value while still remaining humble. Now is the perfect time to master this.

Something else you want to avoid is coming off rudely. Even if you're upset about something, you want to continue being professional. The last thing you want to do is speak in a rude way to your boss and later regret your actions.

Take a deep breath and go in there with your head held high while maintaining your professionalism. 

How to Impress Your Boss

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If you're able to impress your boss, then you may begin to build a relationship with him or her. The more you impress him or her, the better chances of them noticing you. 

How can you impress your boss while not trying to show off?

The simple answer to this question is to simply do an amazing job while at work. It's also essential that you take responsibility for any mistakes. It's human to make mistakes, and owning up to them and offering a solution will show your boss that you take your job seriously.

Being honest and positive is a great starting point. Being punctual will also show your boss that your job means a lot to you. It shows your commitment and responsibility. 

One of the last ways to impress your boss is to let your achievements be known. Although you don't want to visit his or her office every time you do something right, there's nothing wrong with accepting the credit for the things you did do right. 

How to Ask for a Raise

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The next topic we're going to cover is asking for a raise. Have you had the opportunity to ask for a raise in the past? What worked well about the way you asked and what didn't work so well? 

Does the thought alone of asking for an increase in pay make you nervous? If you believe you deserve a raise, then don't let that nervous feeling stop you from asking for one. Just be sure to ask in the correct manner.

Before you ask for your raise, have a concrete number in mind. He or she might ask you how much you believe you should be making and if you don't have an answer, then why should they? Do your research.

For example, do you work in a dangerous position? Do you believe you deserve to make more than what you currently do?

Know how much other employees in the same position as you make at different companies. Then, addressing him or her with a solid number. You also want to provide him or her with data or proof as to why you deserve this raise. 

Present your work contributions over the past six months, year, or several months. How have you positively contributed to the company? What have you done to contribute to the company's success? 

Bring this data with you when meeting with your boss. Don't feel discouraged if he or she isn't familiar with you or the work you do. This is common in large companies as it may be difficult for a boss to keep up with hundreds of employees. 

How to Ask for a Promotion

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Similar to asking for a raise, asking for a promotion should be done only if you have proof to back up the reasons why you believe you deserve one. Make a list of any accomplishments you've achieved in your current position. Ask a manager about the different tasks required of someone in the position you want to promote to. 

Once you have this information, be sure to show your boss why you'd be a good fit for that position. You need to show that you have and will continue to go above and beyond what's being asked of you. 

The Timing

One of the best times to ask for a promotion is during your annual or semi-annual review. This is an ideal time to speak with your manager or boss about how you're currently doing, where you could improve, and what's required of you to earn the next promotion.

If you notice a lot of change within the company, then this is also a good time to ask for a promotion. For example, the company might be merging departments, repositioning with another company, and so on. 

Schedule a Meeting

If you want to ask for a promotion during a time not listed above, then it's best to schedule a meeting with the boss. Whether you send an email or ask for a meeting in person, do be sure to let him or her know it'll be about your current performance level and your potential at the company.

This prevents catching someone off-guard. He or she can then take the time leading up to the meeting to review your performance.

How to Ask for Time Off

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Before you begin planning that well-needed vacation, do be sure to review your employee handbook.

What are the rules regarding time off? Have a solid understanding of the rules before asking for the time off

How many vacation days do you have? Will they roll over into next year's scheduling? Are you eligible for paid time off yet, and does seniority play a role when requesting days?

The next factor you want to consider is the current condition of the workplace. For example, if there are any major projects due soon or if several employees are out sick, then this might not be the best time to request time off. 

The last thing to keep in mind is to give plenty of notice when doing so. Don't expect to be given next week off when you waited until the Friday before to ask for it. Emergency situations are an exception, but when you're able to give notice please do so. 

How to Talk to Your Boss About Quitting

It's sometimes challenging to talk to your boss about quitting. You might feel nervous about upsetting him or her or letting him or her down. Maybe you're afraid of the reaction you'll get and how it'll be handled. 

Although you can't control anyone else, you can control yourself. Remain professional and positive. Thank your boss for giving you the opportunity to work with them for the time you did. It's also courteous to give your employer at least two weeks in advance before you're leaving date. 

Leaving on a good note will ensure a positive reference if a future employer were to call and ask. 

Talk to Your Boss With Confidence

If you once weren't sure how to talk to your boss, then we hope you're now able to do so with confidence. You can talk to your boss professionally by using the advice listed above. 

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