The idea here is to simply offer up some various examples of how you might improve your work alongside any raise you might get. Harvard Business Review lays it out like so:
Use “what if” responses. One way to build on your boss’s responses during the open dialogue stage is to have some “what if” responses ready to go. “What if” responses give you a way to further the conversation by suggesting specific actions that you might take when your boss makes a general suggestion. For example, if your boss says that you need more cross-functional experience before you can advance, you might reply with an exact strategy that you could implement to get that experience such as:
- “What if I work directly with the marketing department on the Johnson campaign?”
- “What if I take the lead in sharing our communications strategy with the sales team?”
- “What if I shadow the distribution team lead for a week, or participate in a one-day role swap with a peer in the finance department?
It’s a simple thing, but it works in a couple of different ways. First off, you’re providing an actual plan for what you’d do that would deserve more money. Second, you’re phrasing it in a way that leaves it open to interpretation, so you and your boss can come up with a plan. Of course, it’s not just useful for salary negotiations. If you’re just hating on your job a bit, moving around can be a useful way to prolong your time there, and this is one way to at least spice up your days.
Having the Here’s What I Want Conversation With Your Boss [Harvard Business Review]