A study by Wharton professors Alison Wood Brooks and Maurice Schweitzer found anxious negotiators made initial offers that were 7.5% lower on average than those from non-anxious participants. From this, the authors conclude negotiators might be able to improve their performance by engaging in activities to reduce their anxiety.
In my seminars, participants sometimes tell me “I hate to negotiate. It makes me anxious and I just don’t like it. What can I do?”
“Treat it like a game,” I tell them. “Don’t take it personally. And study it so you will be able to recognize what’s being done and why. Knowledge of the process will increase your comfort level and your ability to get what you want. Negotiation is an important and ever-present part of life. Like any life skill, you can improve it with understanding, knowledge, and practice.”
Recognizing your ability to negotiate is a skill that you can improve is an important step in becoming a more effective, and less anxious, negotiator.