Nicknamed “the negotiator” as a child, Fotini Iconomopoulos has been honing her skills her entire life. For the last decade, she’s been empowering Fortune 500 executives and their teams to achieve their objectives through her expertise in negotiation, communication and persuasion.

Episode Overview:

  • Tips on multiple areas of your life that you did not know you could actually negotiate
  • Key lessons in big mistakes that people are making
  • Tips on job offers and how to negotiate
  • Gender differences on how we negotiate

When she’s not strategizing with clients, she is a frequent guest on CBC & CTV Television, a professor of MBA Negotiations at the Schulich School of Business, which is one of the top business schools in the world and she offers her experience to non-profit initiatives. In 2018, she ran a week-long empowerment camp for young girls, an attempt to close the gender gap before it starts. She was recently recognized with a Greek America Foundation Top 40 under 40 award for her achievements and philanthropic work.

I actually got the honor to meet Fotini at WeWork, when we were in a workshop together and she is someone that I automatically gravitated towards because I could feel her passion for the topic and how she genuinely wants to help people become successful, not to mention she’s absolutely gorgeous and charming!

How important is it to master the art of negotiation as a life skill?

When Fotini talks to her audiences during her keynotes and some of the keynotes that she does is for the people who does not know that they do any negotiation.

Negotiation is not always for people wearing suits shaking hands.

Fotini's experience at the hospital help a way to negotiate with the nurses and other staff at the hospital. She is talking to them to resolve these things that needed to be resolved to change her quality of  life.

  • If you spend time along with children, they are the best negotiator in life.
  • Negotiations is about managing conflict.
  • Negotiator prevent arguments.
  • We have to negotiate all the time, so why not work on that skill every single day.

Where do people usually learn to negotiate?

According to Fotini we learn how to negotiate during childhood or by learning on what works and what doesn’t work. In businesses schools, negotiation is a part of the program for the undergrad and for the MBA program, it is the most popular classes because it is a life skill that we really should be mastering.

Other areas that we can negotiate with our lives:

One of the most common areas that we usually negotiate is in retail. In fact, almost everything that we do in our lives revolves around negotiation whether it may be business wide or a friendly gesture.

In Sir Alan Sugar’s UK Version of Apprentice, Sapna talked about an episode where men always get the upper hand when it comes to negotiation compared to the women. Here are the reasons why these happen:

  • Men do it more.
  • Women are more cooperative on how they could negotiate.
  • Women get more items than men because they are more cooperative which may result to a “failed success” time-wise.

Fotini talked about Linda Bobcock’s study back in 2001 where 7% of women are trying to negotiate their first salary while 57% of men were. Sometimes the differentiating factors of getting the courage to get through this is situation is:

  • Having the courage to do this
  • Knowing “what do I need to do to mitigate the risk of retaliation
  • Women are really gifted at negotiating but they don’t do it enough

The things that is preventing us to negotiate

  • Fear – as a child, the things that was encourage to play in different forms for a long time creates an impact in terms on how we connect ourselves.
  • Lack of encouragement – as adults, we should start building confidence to our kids instead of telling them that they are acting up or being bossy.

The things that people don’t ask in terms of jobs offers

Fotini provides advice on how you should ask about some benefits that you can get when applying for a job such as the bonuses, a choice to work from home to save parking fees and much more.

When it is time to negotiate for salary, don’t be afraid to ask but before you ask, think of what is going to be the best component that you can get from the company that will save you and the company money in the long run.

Other mistakes that we see in term of negotiation:

  • Assuming that there is no room for negotiation
  • Do your homework
  • People talking themselves out of the deal
  • Take your time to think before speaking
  • Take the time to learn what they need to say and get some knowledge out of them.

About Forward Focusing:

Forward Focusing helps companies strategically invest energy into the areas that will advance their negotiation and communication goals.  To optimize client performance in commercial activities, a truly customized approach empowers executives and strengthens their teams via advisory, coaching and training services.  Service such sectors as consumer packaged goods, retail, professional services, energy, law, telecommunications, finance and more.

Resource Recommendation:

Book Recommendation:

Best Practice:

  • Outsource things such us hiring a speaker bureau
  • Marking calendar for schedules
  • Ask for help

Favorite Hot Spot:  Insomnia – Richmond Station

Connect with Fotini:

Website: Forward Focusing

Twitter: @FotiniIcon

LinkedIn: Fotini Iconomopoulus

Instagram: @fotiniicon

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