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Now, look down

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Negotiation touches every part of our lives. Relationships in business and in our personal lives are negotiated. And the skills to do it effectively can often mean the difference between getting what you want or losing out. You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate!

In the first section of the book, How to be a Great Negotiator, written by property economist, investor and developer Neville Berkowitz, the characteristic traits of a great negotiator are explored in short, bite-sized nuggets of advice.

Over the next 132 days, we will bring you the traits needed to succeed at the art of negotiating.

(Courtesy of PersonalEmpowerment.co)

47 Fear

Fear can be a motivating or debilitating force, depending on how you use it. It can manifest as insecurity, self-doubt, anxiety, basic fear, or even panic. And it can result in indecision, confusion, negativity and pessimism that increasingly undermine self-confidence and lower self-esteem.

Everyone experiences fear. Not everyone faces and moves beyond the limits imposed by fear. And fewer still master fear. A great negotiator doesn’t let fear control his or her actions, limit opportunities, dictate strategies, or define his or her character.

In business, in a negotiation, and in life, fear often derives from being inexperienced or unprepared and from contemplating the possible loss of work, income, profit, prestige, or simply loss of face in the moment.

But our fear patterns and triggers are usually deeper than these immediate concerns. They are often related to childhood and social conditioning which may include painful, humiliating, or traumatic experiences. Yet, regardless of the causes and roots of fear, you can choose to face and master fear. Here are a few ways to do so:

  • Thoroughly prepare before an anxiety-provoking event. Preparation can include studying relevant data, figures and other materials; role-playing with a partner or mentor; visualising or mentally rehearsing difficult scenarios and your responses; and deeply relaxing, releasing fear, and focusing on and trusting in a positive outcome. (Practices like meditation, prayer and conscious relaxation help you to relax and function effectively in stressful situations which can trigger heightened emotional states like fear, anger, surprise, confusion, etc).
  • Consciously cultivate a courageous attitude and engage in challenging activities that give you the opportunity to practice courage in the face of fear. These may include courses or workshops on public speaking, debating, solo performing, etc.; personal breakthrough seminars; challenging physical activities like skiing, martial arts/self-defense, running, parachuting, bungee jumping, etc.
  • Utilise therapy. If you experience chronic anxiety or fear, you may want to consider professional therapeutic help in understanding the underlying causes and issues. You can also find workshops and support groups specifically designed to help you address and overcome fear.

A simple point to remember when fear comes is that you cannot focus on your fear and act decisively at the same time. It’s like the old adage about mountain climbing, “Don’t look down till you reach the top”. Fear is only debilitating if you focus on fearful feelings and thoughts. Then it can mesmerise you. Focusing on what you’re afraid might happen is “looking down”.

If you feel fear in a negotiation, physically relax. Put your attention on the person in front of you or on the task at hand. Respond to what is happening now, listening, speaking, or taking the next simple action. Focus on the step in front of you that will move the negotiation forward, toward the mutual objective. Engage the other party in a practical yet friendly manner. And keep relaxing. Wherever possible breathe deeply to relax and calm you down.

Doing all this positively channels fear and adrenaline into effective action and simple human connection. This turns fear into performance-boosting fuel. This is how you overcome fear in the moment.


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