How to Get Over Your Fear of Negotiating and Ask For More

Kristin Wong

My Uncle Danny once helped me buy a new Corolla while I watched in awe. He was a relentless, negotiating beast. He threatened. He acted offended. He sat in silence and stared at the salesman. In the end, I paid nearly $5,000 less than I expected. Negotiating is powerful. As a timid person, it’s not something that comes easy for me, and it might not come easy for you. Here are some of the best ways to do it, even when you dread it.

Why We Hate Negotiating

Whether it’s my salary or a new Corolla, I’ve always dreaded negotiating. I don’t like asking for things because I’m afraid I’ll be perceived as greedy. I’m afraid of confrontation and rejection and offending someone. Notice a theme here?

For most of us, that’s exactly what an aversion to negotiating is about: fear. The thing is, that fear is usually unfounded. For example, if you think you’re being confrontational, chances are, no one else thinks anything of it. Researchers from Columbia University conducted a study on assertiveness (PDF) and self-awareness. Subjects were asked to participate in mock negotiations and rate their own level of aggressiveness. Here’s what researchers found, in their own words:

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