Mastery Monday – What Level of Confidence Do You Need To Be A Great Negotiator?

Thoughts From A Mother
May 10, 2018
Own Your Power to Push Past the Fear
May 21, 2018

Recently I spoke at a big event where I shared my Think Like A Negotiator Keynote talk.  There was a comment that said. “She seems a little arrogant, self-assured. It’s a little off-putting.”

First let’s look at the definition of the word arrogant and self assured:

Definition of arrogant

1 : exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one’s own worth or importance often by an overbearing manner

2 : showing an offensive attitude of superiority : proceeding from or characterized by arrogance

showing the attitude of a person who is overly proud of himself or herself or of his or her own opinions. Having or showing the insulting attitude of people who believe that they are better, smarter, or more important than other people : having or showing arrogance

Self-Assured means – confident in one’s own abilities or character. Self-confident.

I did a survey in a Mastermind group I’m part of and asked for 1 word to describe me.  The words were Powerful (more than one person said this), Determined, Impactful, Direct, Awesome and Fiery.  Those words would all have an underlying confidence meaning behind them in my humble opinion.

I would not describe myself as arrogant.  I don’t think I’m better, smarter or more important than others.  Nor do I think I exaggerate or am superior or think I’m insulting to people. I would describe myself as Dynamic, Powerful and Tenacious.

One of the Think Like A Negotiator strategies is to Own Your Power.  You need some power to be a good negotiator.  That requires a level of confidence many people do not possess.  People are oftentimes afraid of the confrontation that negotiation presents or fear rejection.  They often miss an opportunity to ask for exactly what they want.

In order to successfully stand up for yourself in any situation, you need a level of confidence and sometimes more confidence and power depending on the situation.  If you don’t have it, you may have not done as well in personal situations, business or even negotiating a raise or salary for yourself in a job.  Getting the courage to ask for exactly what you want may seem impossible if you find negotiation confrontational or if you find asking to be a huge task.  It does take courage for those who are uncomfortable with it and maybe even for some who are comfortable but asking for something that they perceive as a “big ask.” This is why I suggest that my clients who are not comfortable with negotiation go test their skills at a yard sale, swap meet or even a thrift shop.  It’s a low risk, low cost, high value way to get some great experience that then translates into other negotiation situations.

Being called arrogant and that my self-assurance is off-putting doesn’t bother me, in fact, it made me laugh out loud because I would have never expected anyone to call me arrogant. As with all things I always look deeper to see if I can find additional meaning to something. I probably perceived people as arrogant before I gained the confidence I have today, and it wasn’t because they were arrogant, it was because I was extremely lacking in self confidence and perceived other people to be arrogant when they were simply owning their power and confident in their abilities.  I also thought that the person who made that statement probably lacks self confidence like I once did, and my confidence was off putting to them because of who they are within themselves.

The bottom line here is… if you want to be confident in negotiation, you must be confident in yourself.  When I do longer workshops on negotiation there is a component of self-leadership included which is something else I train on by itself and work on with my clients.  You must lead yourself first to be able to stand in and own your own power.


One way to do that is to turn negative self-talk to powerful self-talk.  You must stop the chatter in your head or the “committee” as I like to sometimes call it.  Your mindset is your greatest asset, but it can also derail your success through self-sabotage in your thoughts.

“Kind words are like honey—. sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” (Proverbs 16:24) If kind words are like honey, then what are unkind words?  This isn’t only words that others say to you or you hear on TV or online.  This also m


eans your own words to yourself and more so in my opinion. We can uplift ourselves or destroy ourselves with our own words and thoughts.

The first strategy I teach on when I do a keynote is to Own Your Power.  It’s that first thought that must occur when you receive that thing that will cause you to negotiate.  It could be a proposal or maybe it’s the other side trying to impose a v


erbal change when the statement of work says something else.  It could be a dispute with a landlord, a credit card company, a service provider or anything else when you’ve been given a bad deal and need to challenge it.

In any of those situations you may not say the words I need to own my power, but you have a choice to make.  You are either going to stand up and challenge it and speak up for yourself or you are going to give up and let the other side take advantage of you.  The choice is yours but my goal for you is that you realize you have the power to stand up for yourself and never be taken advantage of again!

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at

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