Keeping It Old School

Optimism in business is not universal. People are always preparing, thinking about worst-case scenarios, and planning for the negative to ensure the negative doesn’t happen. But optimism is an attitude, which leaves room for preparedness and planning.

On a recent episode of Negotiations Ninja, I spoke with Ed Brodow, a negotiation expert, professional speaker, author of seven books, and a former professional movie actor. Ed is a big proponent of optimism in negotiation with the belief that “in negotiation, being optimistic is more important than anything else.”

Ed defines optimism as positivity about the future and that when you expect things are going to turn out well, they will turn out well. If a person takes this attitude into a negotiation, there is no outcome but the best outcome.

Optimism also breeds confidence. If you believe the future is bright and that everything will work out, there is no reason to walk into a negotiation without assertiveness.

So many people walk in with a victim mentality like they are owed something, they have been wronged or will inevitably be wronged, and have no control over their own lives. Ed counters this mentality with the confidence mystique.

Ed’s term, confidence mystique, is the antidote to the victim mentality. From his time in the U.S. Marine Corps, he learned how important it is to show your confidence, to carry it on your shoulders. It was important for the people who were under you to feel your command and want to follow you. The confidence mystique is carrying your confidence on your shoulders, having the presence of confidence, backed up by optimism.

One of the most important ways to ensure you feel that confidence is to allow yourself to walk away. If you go into a negotiation knowing that no matter what happens, you can walk away, your confidence will come much easier. Don’t give in, don’t make sacrifices you aren’t willing to make. Walk away. Allowing yourself the ability to walk away will boost your confidence and optimism through the entire negotiation, no matter what direction it takes.

“As I get older, I am convinced more and more that the crux of this baby is all about your willingness to walk away,” says Ed. “No one can intimidate you as long as you say, ‘If I can’t get what I need then I’m going to walk away.’”

For more from Ed Brodow about his strategies for successful negotiations through optimism, subscribe to Negotiations Ninja podcast and find us on LinkedIn.