Negotiating with Confidence and Assertiveness

By RED BEAR May 14, 2024 | 6 min read

Confidence and assertiveness are key factors in negotiation outcomes. They empower negotiators — especially in sales and procurement — to communicate effectively, advocate for their interests, and maintain control during discussions.

Bringing these two traits to the negotiating table shows the other side your credibility and helps you make persuasive arguments and handle challenges with resilience. Confidence and assertiveness help you build trust and foster a collaborative spirit so you can walk away with mutually beneficial agreements.

At RED BEAR, we believe wholeheartedly that confident and assertive communication paves a pathway to negotiation success. Our clients believe it, too — especially when they experience the tangible benefits of bringing RED BEAR on board. Our negotiation training courses deliver an average ROI of $54 for every dollar spent. Those are numbers that can’t be argued with.


How can you master confidence and assertiveness? Read on.

The Importance of Confidence in Negotiation

Confidence in negotiation refers to the belief in oneself, one's abilities, and the value of one's position or proposal. It is crucial to negotiation — it influences how negotiators present themselves, handle challenges, and assert their interests.

Preparation and knowledge are fundamental pillars in building confidence. When negotiators thoroughly understand their objectives, alternatives, and all relevant information, they can approach negotiations with assurance, make informed decisions, and respond effectively to counterarguments.

Further, body language and vocal tone are nonverbal cues that can impact how confidence is perceived in negotiations. Maintaining eye contact, using assertive gestures, and speaking with a clear and confident tone can enhance the impression of confidence and authority.

Understanding your own power and strengths is essential for negotiating confidently. This involves recognizing your personal strengths, leveraging all available resources, and being aware of your bargaining position so you can negotiate from a position of strength.

Confidence is not just a mindset; it's a strategic asset in negotiations. By defining confidence, emphasizing preparation and knowledge, discussing nonverbal cues, and understanding personal power, negotiators can enhance their confidence and achieve better outcomes at the negotiation table.


Developing Assertiveness in Negotiation

Assertiveness in negotiation refers to the ability to express your needs, preferences, and boundaries confidently and respectfully. It is crucial in negotiation dynamics as it allows negotiators to advocate for themselves effectively while maintaining positive relationships and fostering mutual understanding.

To develop assertiveness without being overly aggressive, negotiators can employ strategies such as active listening, using "I" statements to express thoughts and feelings, focusing on facts and interests rather than personal attacks, and maintaining a calm and composed demeanor even in challenging situations.

Clearly articulating needs, goals, expectations, and boundaries helps prevent misunderstandings, ensures alignment between parties, and facilitates the exploration of mutually beneficial solutions.

Developing assertiveness in negotiation involves finding the balance between expressing oneself confidently and respectfully. By defining assertiveness, implementing strategies for assertive communication, and emphasizing clarity and directness, negotiators can enhance their effectiveness and achieve more favorable outcomes in negotiations.


The Intersection of Confidence and Assertiveness

Confidence and assertiveness are interrelated qualities that work synergistically in negotiations. As we’ve previously discussed, confidence provides the belief in oneself and the value of your position. At the same time, assertiveness allows negotiators to express their needs, stand firm on important points, and navigate discussions effectively.

Here are a few tips for balancing assertiveness with confidence:

  • Prepare Thoroughly: Confidence stems from knowledge and preparation. Be well-informed about your objectives, alternatives, and the negotiation context.
  • Listen Actively: Assertiveness should be paired with active listening to understand the other party's perspective and respond thoughtfully.
  • Maintain Professionalism: Express confidence and assertiveness in a professional manner, avoiding aggressive or confrontational behavior.
  • Seek Win-Win Solutions: Use confidence and assertiveness to explore creative solutions that benefit all parties involved.

Sounds simple enough, right?


How to Gain Confidence and Practice Assertiveness

Negotiation is both an art and a skill, requiring a delicate balance of confidence and assertiveness. Below are some helpful hints for striking the right balance: 

Addressing Fears and Insecurities

It's natural to have fears and insecurities in negotiations, such as the fear of rejection or failure or concerns about appearing too aggressive. Acknowledging these emotions is the first step toward overcoming them and developing a more confident approach.

Building Resilience and Maintaining Composure

During tough negotiations, building resilience is key to staying composed and focused. Techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, and focusing on solutions rather than problems can help maintain a positive mindset and navigate challenges effectively.

Embracing Feedback and Self-Reflection

Feedback from peers, mentors, or coaches can provide valuable insights into your negotiation style and areas for improvement. Engaging in regular self-reflection allows you to identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for growth, enhancing both confidence and assertiveness.

Planning and Sticking to the Process

Developing a structured negotiation plan with clear objectives, strategies, and fallback positions is crucial. This process not only boosts confidence by providing a roadmap but also guides assertive decision-making during negotiations.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Finally, practice is essential to gaining confidence and practicing assertiveness in negotiations. Role-play exercises, mock negotiations, and real-life practice opportunities allow you to hone your skills, build confidence, and become more comfortable navigating various negotiation scenarios.

RED BEAR Negotiation Training = A Confident Team

Confidence and assertiveness can lead to immediate negotiation success and also foster long-term benefits. They contribute to building trust, strengthening relationships, and achieving win-win outcomes that create value for all parties involved.

Investing in professional negotiation training is crucial to cultivating a confident and assertive team of negotiators. RED BEAR offers comprehensive training programs that equip individuals with the skills, strategies, and the mindset needed to negotiate with confidence, assertiveness, and effectiveness. 

Partner with RED BEAR for tailored training solutions to take the next step toward empowering your team and elevating your negotiation capabilities. Contact us today!

Fill out our contact form and we will be back to you in no later than one business day.



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