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Chill Out

Managing your stress makes you a better deal-maker.

This story appears in the July 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Making deals can be stressful. Although pressure is inevitable, how well you handle it is up to you. Here are some ways to keep from flaring up or burning out at the bargaining table:

  • Do your homework. This is the most effective antidote to any form of anxiety. Start your fact gathering and due diligence early. Establish goals. Get your team in place. Simply put, the more prepared you are, the less you'll have to stress about.
  • Be positive. Learn to see problems as challenges. You will face maddening obstacles, not to mention opponents who are best described by long strings of expletives. Transcend them. As any grade-B action hero (or world-class philosopher) will tell you: That which does not destroy you makes you stronger.
  • Know when to stop. No deal is perfect. There will always be one more point to win. If the expense, effort, time, lost opportunity or added damage to your nerves outweigh the benefit of any further concessions, shake on it and call it a deal. On the other hand, once you've beat every issue to death and the deal still doesn't meet your bottom line, walk away. It ain't your first deal, and it won't be your last.
  • Finally, relax. Take your business deals seriously, but not too seriously. Whatever happens at the bargaining table, it's grace under pressure that will really make you a winner.
A speaker and attorney in Los Angeles, Marc Diener is author of Deal Power.

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