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Why Are Negotiation Skills Soooooo Scary?

By Lisa Woods (656 words)
Posted in Professional Development on May 10, 2019

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Negotiation is a loaded term, one that many associate with conflict, selling, losers verses winners, intimidation, power struggles…the list goes on. Bottom line, most people associate Negotiation Skills with negative connotations, and because of that, the topic is scary to even think about. I review this issue with hundreds of people each year between my business clients and MBA students. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that over 90% of current and future business professionals in this mix feel they need to improve their negotiation skills, but are uncomfortable doing so. Why is that? It’s a question that I’ve contemplated in addition to providing tools and tips for negotiating. Learning a process helps, because you can practice and improve your skillset over time. That is certainly half the battle. The other half is overcoming the mindset that scares you from negotiating in the first place.


Without sounding obnoxious, I’ll dare to say that I’m very comfortable negotiating. I was raised in a household where the reflexive response to ANYTHING was No! That kind of sets the tone for communication. I learned very young that I had four paths to choose from:


1)   Be content within the constraints of the controlled environment.


2)   Become incredibly independent in order to create a separate environment.


3)   Be prepared to understand and explain the pros and cons of all aspects of any particular need/request, and the impact to all involved in order to improve the environment...along with a verified list of options to choose from related to those pros/cons/impacts…before asking for anything…and navigate the conversation from there.


4)   All of the above.


I chose path #4.


When faced with a need or a want, because obviously you had to identify one or the other upfront… “No” never actually meant “No!” Instead, it meant I didn’t do enough preparation. It meant I’d have to figure out a way to achieve the need/want independently, or simply choose to be content with the result.


The accountability for any negotiation I engaged in was my own, no matter the result. This mindset stands today and can be applied to any situation.


  • Applying for a job, asking for a promotion or wage increase.
  • Resolving conflict between individuals or departments.
  • Requesting funds for projects, ideas or business loans.
  • Aligning companies through partnerships or acquisitions.
  • Presenting ideas that need buy-in from individuals or groups.
  • Requesting or responding to price situations.
  • Communication in general…


That’s right, negotiation is simply communication with accountability. Each party is accountable for their own success. If you choose path #4 in any of the above situations, there is no way to fail. There is no power struggle, no intimidation, no conflict.


Negotiation Skills are a lot less scary for those that combine an accountable mindset with a set of tools used to gain experience over time.


Remember, if more than 90% of those you negotiate/communicate with have the same fears and discomfort as you do, imagine your success if you do the legwork to make decisions easier for everyone!


Good luck!






Written by Lisa WoodsPresident ManagingAmericans.com   

Lisa, a thought leader in Business Management and Leadership, founded ManagingAmericans.com in 2011 after 20+ years successfully leading and driving growth in the corporate world. Her objective is to help mentor and develop professionals to be better leaders, managers, team players and individual contributors in a “do-it-yourself” learning environment using unique & practical tools to support the process. Lisa’s career spans from Global Sales & Marketing to General Management of Multinational Conglomerates. Today she continues to consult small business owners through her private practice, as well as teach leaders and mangers as an Adjunct Instructor for Southern New Hampshire University. Lisa's publications include: • 4 Essential Skills for Leaders, Managers & High Potentials © 2013 • The Cross Functional Business: Beyond Teams © 2015 • Action Item List: Drive Your Team With One Simple Tool © 2016 • Small Business Planning Made Simple: What To Consider Before You Invest © 2017 



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