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You should NOT take a No or an Argument against you. So easy to say?

In the world of business negotiations, hearing the word "no" can be a daunting experience. However, successful leaders understand that "no" is simply a part of the negotiation process and should not be taken personally. It's easy to hear the advice of "Don't take it personally" and "Focus on the position, not the people," but putting it into practice can be difficult. In this blog post, we will discuss practical tips for overcoming the fear of "no" in negotiations.

Understanding the Reality of "No"

The first step in overcoming the fear of "no" is to understand its reality. The truth is that "no" is a common response in negotiations. It doesn't necessarily mean that the other party is against you or your proposal, but rather that they have a different perspective or set of interests. It's important to not let the fear of "no" prevent you from engaging in negotiations altogether.

Empathic Reformulation

One technique for dealing with a "no" response is Empathic Reformulation. This involves expressing the other party's position in terms of their feelings and needs. For example, you could say, "It sounds like you are feeling skeptical because you are concerned about the financial implications of this proposal. Is that correct?" This approach shows that you understand their position and can help to build a bridge for further negotiations.

Focus on Interests

Another practical tip is to focus on interests rather than positions. In negotiations, positions can be rigid and difficult to move past. Instead, try to identify the underlying interests of both parties and find a solution that meets those interests. This approach can lead to more creative solutions that benefit both parties.

Building Rapport

Building rapport with the other party can also help to overcome the fear of "no." When negotiating, take the time to get to know the other party and find common ground. This can create a more positive negotiating environment and increase the likelihood of reaching a mutually beneficial agreement.


In conclusion, hearing the word "no" in negotiations can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. By understanding the reality of "no," using techniques such as Empathic Reformulation and focusing on interests, and building rapport with the other party, you can overcome the fear of "no" and negotiate more effectively. Remember, negotiation is a process and "no" is simply a part of that process. With practice and perseverance, you can become a successful negotiator.


  1. Fisher, R., Ury, W., & Patton, B. (2011). Getting to yes: Negotiating agreement without giving in. Penguin.

  2. Lewicki, R. J., Saunders, D. M., & Barry, B. (2010). Negotiation. McGraw-Hill.

  3. Shapiro, D. L., & Martin, B. (2018). Negotiating the nonnegotiable. Penguin.

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