Do these 7 things to turn your negotiation anxiety into confidence


When faced with a stressful conversation, do you get anxious?


If so, you’re not alone.  Negotiations expert Fotini Iconomopoulos, author of Say Less, Get More, says most of the leaders she works with admit that they feel a lot of anxiety when faced with a negotiation.  And when you’re anxious, you’re likely to leave more money on the table.


But it doesn’t have to be this way.  As Fotini explains, there are 7 simple things you can do to turn your anxiety into confidence and come out ahead.  They are:

  • Reframe anxiety as excitement.  Feeling butterflies? Instead of telling yourself that’s because you’re nervous, tell yourself it’s because you’re excited.  A Harvard study has shown that this works.
  • Add one simple word to your inner dialogue. If you’re thinking, “I can’t do it” or “I don’t know how to deal with this person,” add the word “yet.” It will open a world of possibilities and turn an obstacle into a positive challenge.
  • Focus on what you know. Fear of the unknown fuels anxiety.  So focus on what you DO know, researching facts as needed. And practice what you want to say so your brain and your mouth are in sync.
  • Remember past victories. Instead of worrying about what could go wrong, remember the times when things went right. High school sports victories, proud parenting moments… It’ll give your brain a boost.
  • Strike a power pose –As Dr. Amy Cuddy says in her viral TED talk, “fake it until you become it.”  Striking a power pose for a couple of minutes can set your brain up for success.
  • Visualize success. Forget the dread: picture yourself in a successful outcome.  Relish the feeling. You’ll get a nice buzz that will help get you a little closer to the result you want.
  • Recite a positive mantra—It sounds cheesy but it works. Try, “I deserve this” or “I am going to conquer this moment.”



Negotiations expert Fotini Iconomopoulos, author of Say Less, Get More (Harper Collins, 2021), has spent over a decade empowering Fortune 500 executives and their teams to achieve their objectives through negotiation, communication, and persuasion.  Nicknamed “the negotiator” as a child, she guides companies through high-stakes scenarios and creates tailored intensive negotiation workshops for clients in all industries across the globe.  A frequent guest on all major Canadian networks including CBC & CTV Television and an instructor of MBA Negotiations at the Schulich School of Business, Canada’s leading business school, Fotini also offers her experience to non-profit initiatives including an empowerment program for young girls. She’s received multiple honors for her achievements and philanthropic work, including the Network of Executive Women’s National Inclusion award and the Greek America Foundation’s Top 40 under 40 award. She lives in Toronto.