Speaking Point: Before you ask, make sure you rigorously and thoroughly prepare...and rehearse, too. In this very challenging market, any and all requests must be supported by good sound judgment. Provide examples of your contributions and accomplishments, how the company has benefited both directly (think dollars earned and saved) and indirectly (perhaps efficiencies and innovative approaches you've introduced), and how to find the resources to make the raise a reality. So when your boss asks "why you?" - and she will - you will be equipped with a defensible strategy.
Speaking Point: Be clear on what you want (the dollar amount or range), why you deserve it, and how the company will benefit. The "what" could be a number. It could also be additional vacation, flex time, sponsorship for an executive MBA, or membership in professional associations or clubs, to list just a few options. The idea being that if you don't get the number you want and believe you deserve, it is wise to have a back-up request to offset the gap.
Speaking Point: Qualities That Make It Clear You Deserve a Raise: The importance of your role; Your undivided loyalty; The health and stability of the company; Any contributions that you have made above and beyond what is expected.
Speaking Point: It's never the right time to ask for a raise if you don't have a defensible strategy to support your request. That's defensible, not defensive. A defensible strategy explains what you want, why you want it, and how it's a win/win for both your boss and for you. The goal is to show value and benefit.
Speaking Point: Whenever you ask for a raise, it should never be presented as an ultimatum. You may get the raise but the opportunity cost could be steep if you jeopardize any or all of the goodwill you've accumulated. You set the stage by expressing gratitude; next, you position the request by highlighting key accomplishments and contributions; you establish that your boss agrees with you; then, and only then, do you tell your boss what you want.
Speaking Point: Get an offer from a competing company that you'd be willing to accept, but prefer not to. Tell your boss that you've received an offer, that it's attractive, that you'd prefer not to leave. What can he or she do? It's far cheaper to give you a raise than to recruit and train a new candidate. Know that this is a risky proposition: It could backfire...so please don't use it if you don't really want to leave or don't have a bona fide offer on the table.