Negotiating salary isn't about being well-liked or disliked. It's about speaking up to receive fair compensation based on the position you're being asked to perform. It's not about popularity, it's about performance. Focus on the professional, not the personal.
Similarly, women will often tell me -- or they'll say that that their friends or family tell them -- "Just be thankful for the salary. Don't rock the boat." They're gun shy because they want the job so badly.
You won't lose a job offer because you negotiate fairly. (Clearly, if you make outrageous demands that are unrealistic based on what you bring to the position, you may risk losing it. This is where research is invaluable.)
In fact, the majority of employers expect you to speak up. So instead of listening only to the naysayers who hold you back -- or the voice of doubt in your head -- surround yourself with a cheerleader too.
Anticipate the opposition. Figure out all of the reasons why the decision maker might say no and prepare your responses. This helps avoid looking like a deer in the headlights. A common objection: "This is all we budgeted for." To that you might ask for a signing bonus or guaranteed salary review or year-end bonus at a specific time.
Another no: "Your salary history doesn't dictate a higher starting salary here." Your possible response: "The demands of this new role and the challenges and goals I will be expected to meet do warrant a higher base, especially with the skills and experience I bring to the position." This is also the time to address any differences in company size, location or industry that could impact your case for a higher starting salary.
Negotiate as if it's for someone else. Women are awesome when it comes to asking people to make donations to charity. Women have no trouble haggling at a flea market -- especially when a friend wants a good buy on something. But when it comes to speaking up for yourselves -- specially asking for money and benefits for us -- women tend to shy away. We don't want to come across as conceited, demanding or difficult. So we simply accept what's offered.
If that's you, then pretend you're speaking up for your best friend, your daughter or the person you care most about in the world. You know you'd want her to get the most, so you're likely to do a stellar job on her behalf.
One final thought: keep in mind that the company made you an offer, so clearly they want you and they value your skills and experience. That, too, should boost your confidence going into any negotiation conversation!
Tory Johnson is the workplace contributor on "Good Morning America" and the CEO of Women for Hire. Connect with her at www.womenforhire.com.