“Negotiating Out Of Fear – To Be Or Not To Be … Fearful”


Negotiation Fear Fearless


When you negotiate out of fear, are you aware that doing so can lead to more fear? There are times when you should be fearful during a negotiation (e.g. not planning appropriately and losing the negotiation because you’re negotiating from a weak position). If you’ve planned appropriately and have backups in place to acquire what you need from other sources, you have no need to be fearful.

In order to negotiate from a more empowering perspective, one whereby you’re in control of fear versus it controlling you, adopt the following insights.


  1. Determine the source of your fear:
  • Explore your mind to seek answers to why you’re experiencing fear. Assess to what degree fear is leading to dread and dread to possibly a lack of mental demobilization. Be mindful that fear initiates the fight or flight syndrome, which detracts from your mental agility while you’re in that mindset.
  • Once you’ve assessed the source of your fear, summon victories from your past to give you the mental strength and assurance that nothing life-ending will come out of this negotiation. Strengthen your mind!


  1. Focus on positivity:
  • By focusing your mind on the positive aspects of the negotiation, you allow your thoughts to flow more freely. This will also allow you to decrease your level of stress (i.e. positive thoughts and stress cannot reside in the same mental space).
  • That’s not to say you shouldn’t consider negative possibilities that might occur in the negotiation. Don’t obsess on them.


  1. Use questions to direct your mind:
  • Ask yourself questions that will probe one step deeper to how you might accomplish your goals for the negotiation (e.g. I don’t know how I might get ‘x’. If I knew, what might it be?).
  • Use ‘what if’ scenarios to explore deeper crevices of your mind as to the possibilities of how you might uncover possible solutions to impasses


  1. Role Play:
  • In the planning stage of the negotiation, consider role-playing with a colleague. Each of you should assume the role of a negotiator and engage in a mock negotiation as you think the real negotiation might unfold. Then switch roles and assume the posture of the other negotiator. Afterward, assess what alternatives you could have adopted, per potential impasses and/or strategies you might have used to enhance your negotiation position/outcome.


  1. Other Negotiator’s Perspective:
  • To gain a greater perspective during the negotiation, ask the other negotiator to tell you what color she’d associate with your offer (I’ll write about the influence of colors on a negotiation in another article). If she says ‘black or blue’, that more than likely denotes gloom/dissatisfaction. If she says ‘white’ or a light color, that more than likely means she’s learning more towards the offer than away from it (you can observe the body language in ‘real time’ to note the direction of her lean).



John F. Kennedy once said, “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” If you adopt that mantra and the suggestions above, you’ll have a powerful tool to combat your negotiation fears and an excellent way to enhance your negotiation outcomes … and everything will be right with the world.


Remember, you’re always negotiating!



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