“Imposter Syndrome – Do You Know How To Engage To Win More Negotiations”

“Without recognizing and appreciating of one’s self-worth, imposter syndrome can weaken one’s self-perception, which can undermine one’s self-resolve.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“Imposter Syndrome – Do You Know How

To Engage To Win More Negotiations”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

How do you deal with imposter syndrome in your negotiations? It can occur in you and the opposing negotiator.

Loosely defined, imposter syndrome is doubting your abilities – it can also encompass feeling like a fraud. And during certain parts of a negotiation, it can become an enabler spurring you on to move forward or a severe disabler that stiffens a negotiator with fear, causing them to crumble at the negotiation table.

Imposter syndrome is real. And this is how you might deal with it during your negotiations. Continue to gain more insights that will lead to you winning more negotiations.

The Cause Of Negotiation Imposter Syndrome

Sometimes, negotiators may feel inept as talks become more challenging. To combat that, they may create a false façade. Their feelings may stem from the self-doubt they possess about not being capable of competing against the opposing negotiator. In such situations, they may become impotent and lack the mental fortitude to craft a logical path passed the dilemma that confronts them.

How To Address Imposter Syndrome In Yourself

As you negotiate, become mindful of what is occurring during the negotiation that may cause you to experience imposter syndrome; it’s something you should have considered before entering the negotiation and made preparations to address. If something catches you off-guard that you had not anticipated, pause the negotiation by calling a timeout.

Once you are away from the negotiation table, clear your mind of thoughts that may be clouding your thinking. Consider your options. Do so from a rational and irrational perspective.

The point is to contemplate all leverage possibilities you might use to offset the imposter syndrome that has hindered you. If you ignore what is occurring within you, you risk the perils of a failed negotiation.

How To Address Imposter Syndrome In Your Negotiation Counterpart

As stated, every negotiator fears some aspect of negotiation. If one does not, they have not contemplated all the possibilities that might derail the proceedings.

To some degree, negotiators may experience imposter syndrome and display an untrue representation of themselves. Sometimes, that may manifest in them bolstering themselves and their negotiation position. Sometimes, it may cause them to negotiate from a deflated position and self-image. If you since either perspective, let that negotiator continue to foster the pretense of their character to gain insight into their strategy.

Once you employ strategies causing them to expose their weakness, do not allow the negotiation to pause. You want to keep them engaged in the talks as long as possible. If need be, needle them about the minutest items on the agenda. You want to get under their skin to cause errors in judgment and miscalculations on their part. When they feel the stress of imposter syndrome lifting, that is the time to apply more pressure.  

Negotiation Tactics To Consider Against Imposter Syndrome Opponents

1. Assessing What Opponent Wants – What They Need

When negotiating against an opponent with an imposter syndrome dilemma, assess what they want, what they need, and what will make them settle for what you offer. There is a need you can meet with this opponent type, an itch you need to scratch. Uncovering it sets the ground for the leverage you can use during the negotiation.

Giving the relief that an opponent derives from imposter syndrome can quicken their endearment to you, extending your power over them. Make sure you look several steps ahead to ensure your strategy and tactics are on point.   

2. Be Ghostly

Being ghostly in a negotiation entails altering your positions to off-balance your opponent. Like a ghost, you shift the appearance of your situation to cast a shadow on your actual perspective. You can accomplish this by leading them to believe you are close to agreeing on a point they have put forward and then finding fault and retreating from it. 

3. Be Ambiguous

Unlike the pretense of being ghostly, you can display ambiguity by fostering the facade of not knowing what you truly want from the negotiation; it is the “playing dumb” role that you seek to exact with this persona. Its purpose is to confuse or confound the opposition per the direction you may take in the negotiation. Remember, your counterpart is experiencing imposter syndrome; they are unsure of their footing.

Accordingly, you may use this ploy to have them follow your lead or expose the one they would extend. Either way, you will have more insight from which to negotiate better. You can further enhance this pretense by creating the illusion that your superpower is to make the most extreme and outlandish ideas sound measured.

If you can perfect that persona, you will forestall the perception of you possessing imposter syndrome while creating the impression in the opposition’s mind that they cannot measure up. And that may leave the other negotiator with increasing doubt about their ability to negotiate effectively.    


Yes, imposter syndrome is real. And it does impact how people interact during negotiations. So, if you wish to enhance your negotiation outcomes and win more negotiations, assess to what degree imposter syndrome may influence your proceedings. After that, develop a plan detailing how you will exploit opportunities that may avail themselves.

You must be prepared to address imposter syndrome in negotiations because it will impact your talks. Thus, to the degree you are ready to adopt one action versus another, you will be capable of positioning yourself for a better negotiation outcome. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating! 

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