1Take the Fear Out of Negotiation

Fear impedes people's ability to negotiate. Fear is not just a factor for amateurs who negotiate infrequently. Fear affects people who negotiate every day. For the past 20 years, I have advised clients on many high-stakes negotiations. I have consulted on mergers, acquisitions, large customer contracts, commercial real estate deals, partnership agreements, and supplier contracts. I have also taught negotiation strategies to thousands of executives around the world—from CEOs, to senior vice presidents of business development, to sales executives. I have taught those who negotiate every day, such as investment bankers, private equity partners, and commercial real estate investors, as well as those who are intimidated by the negotiation process. Google, McDonald's, IBM, McKesson, Cisco, and many other Fortune 500 companies are my clients, along with many smaller, growth-oriented businesses.

I frequently ask the senior executives that I am advising if they feel that fear impedes their own negotiations and the negotiations that their teams complete. They resoundingly agree that fear is a significant factor in these negotiations. Likewise, when I am teaching a negotiation course for a company, I often ask the participants if fear plays a role in their negotiations, and more than 80% of the attendees will raise their hands to say that fear limits their success.

What do people fear the most in negotiations? My extensive conversations with executives ...

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