“New Helpful Advice – How To Conquer Fears To Win More Negotiations” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“In negotiations, when negotiators experience fear, they summon it from the past. To fight it, let it lie where it rests.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body language Expert

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Negotiators can experience fear in negotiations due to numerous reasons. That can debilitate them, preventing them from engaging in their talks more robustly and reducing their chances of a successful negotiation outcome. If that has ever happened to you, observe the following advice. It will allow you to conquer fears, win more negotiations, and give you a greater sense of mind when you do so. 

1. Identifying Fear’s Source in Negotiations

Before negotiators grapple with their fears, they must identify them. The source of some negotiation fears are:

1. Lacking Negotiation Skills

If you believe you will engage against someone with superior skills, enhance your negotiation knowledge, ask someone to negotiate with you, or on your behalf. When fearful, employ the help of others to vanish your fears.

2. Appearing Foolish

Define what foolishness looks like and assess why you have such feelings. Then, ask yourself how you might address that emotion. Worse case, you will discover more about yourself, which will prepare you for future sessions.

3. Failure

What if I mess up; that is what this phobia might sound like. That thought also encompasses the fear of loss. What if you improve the situation? That is the counterpoint you may consider. Again, define what failure and loss may look like and assess what you will do to avoid it.

4. Dealing With Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is real – its characteristics manifest in self-doubt about one’s abilities; it can exasperate fears during negotiations. Identifying and understanding the source of this fear while creating a plan to deal with it will allow negotiators to adopt a better perspective per their engagement.

You most likely see a common thread in those four fears. There are many more that negotiators encounter, most originating in their minds. That means, at their origin, the opposing negotiator has done nothing to place them there.

When fear besets you before negotiations, identify why it has you in its grasp, how to shake free of it, and how you will keep it at bay moving forward – and do move forward. Do not allow fear to keep you from becoming a better negotiator or winning more negotiations.

2. Adopting Fearless Negotiation Mindset

Adopting a fearless mindset can help a negotiator perform better. Here are a few strategies to help do that:

1. Leverage Psychological Power

A negotiator psychologically aware of their mindset is at the starting point of controlling it. And since psychology plays a vital role in negotiations, negotiators must have their ‘head in the game’ to become more competitive.

To do that, mentally assess the dynamics you believe may occur in the talks. Also, evaluate the risks versus rewards you are willing to take. In so doing, you will be enhancing your psychological prowess.  

2. Negotiation Structuring

To ease potential tensions about a negotiation, negotiators can structure their talks across multiple sessions. By breaking a long negotiation into smaller segments, you can control the overall talks better, with release valves between sessions to allow anxieties to escape. That should also alleviate the pressure to perform at one’s peak over what would have been a longer time.

3. System 1 versus System 2 Thinking

“System 1” is noted as thinking fast, instinctively, and emotionally; “System 2” is a more deliberate and logical manner of thinking. Understand when you might be in either mode throughout the negotiation when one might serve you better than the other, and what you will do if you find yourself in the less optimal thought process. The better you prepare for the mode that will best serve you, the lower your degree of tension will be.

4. Limit Process Bias

Process biases can cloud a negotiator’s mind during negotiations – making quick decisions based on previously held beliefs. System 2 thinking, which involves deliberate and analytical decision-making, will assist in mitigating biases. That will allow negotiators to become calmer and make more rational decisions.

Adopting these suggestions will allow negotiators to better prepare their mental state before negotiating, which should assuage their fears about the engagement.

3. Conquering Negotiation Fears

Now that you have adopted an understanding of fear’s sources and a fearless mindset, it is time to conquer your negotiation fears. Do that by:

1. Embracing Growth Mindset

Fear hijacks a negotiator’s mind because it amplifies past negative experiences and drags them into their present environment. I suggest you not do that. Instead, adopt a mindset of becoming a better negotiator; prepare to combat and defeat fear. That will serve you better than a fixed mindset mistakenly using the false allure of fear as one’s savior.

2. Harnessing Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a bellwether predictor of how a negotiator will fare during talks. To enhance it, negotiators should become more self-aware of their negotiation skills, regulate their emotions throughout negotiations, and determine how they will manage situations. Through this process, they will better control their emotional state and dissipate the fears that might rob them of it. 


Fears are real for negotiators who experience them in negotiations; they can become debilitating if allowed to. To offset that, I suggest contemplating possible negotiation perils and partaking in the offerings presented. Doing so will enable negotiators to negotiate fearlessly, freeing their minds to deal more effectively. And everything will be right with the world.

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After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

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