Negotiate Successfully without Damaging Your Relationships (with Fotini Iconomopoulos)

Ep: 207

When it comes to asking for what we want and what we deserve, as women, we often find ourselves in a double-bind.

We want to advocate for ourselves, but we also don’t want to rock the boat and risk potentially damaging relationships.

Without knowing how to confidently and clearly ask for what you want, you’re missing out on what you deserve. 

Learning how to negotiate effectively is one of the most important skills that you can gain because the reality is you’re negotiating every single day.

Here’s what you need to know…

It’s entirely possible to be authentic, likable, and still get what you want.

Today on The Bridge to Fulfillment Ⓡ, Blake welcomes Fotini Iconomopoulos. Going from running a small business, to negotiating with Walmart buyers in the corporate world, today business executives partner with her to achieve their business goals, increase profitability and create a competitive advantage. She’s been featured in Forbes and Harvard Business Review, and is the author of Say Less, Get More: Unconventional Negotiation Techniques to Get What You Want

In this episode, Fotini shares her expertise in negotiation, communication and persuasion. You’ll learn how you can leverage her negotiation techniques not only in the workplace, but also in the day-to-day negotiations that take place in your friendships and family relationships. You’ll hear how to overcome the biggest fears you have when it comes to the negotiating table, and the simple easy steps that you can take to become a better advocate for yourself, without compromising your relationships or likability.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Luck versus setting yourself up for success (9:12)
  • The unique “double-bind” women are subject to (11:40)
  • How to be likable without forfeiting what you deserve (13:16)
  • The biggest fear people have when it comes to negotiating (17:39)
  • Key steps for a successful negotiation (24:23)
  • Why saying less can benefit you more (29:43)

Favorite Quotes:

  1. When we’re faced with difficult conversations, common sense kind of goes out the window. So I’ve just been playing with finding unique ways to help people tap into their common sense when they need it most. –Fotini Iconomopoulos

  2. Nobody that that really accomplishes significant things feels ready for them. And I think that’s why they’ve accomplished something significant is they step into it with the belief system that they’ll figure it out and they’ll learn. –Blake

  3. We recognize intuitively that there is bias when it comes to women in negotiation. They know if you come from a disadvantaged groups, if you are not part of that privileged group who gets to get away with everything, you are going to be discriminated against. –Fotini Iconomopoulos

  4. Once we start to understand where likability comes from, we’re less likely to make that costly mistake of trying to buy it instead of building it. –Fotini Iconomopoulos

Additional Resources:

Connect with Fotini Iconomopoulos:

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Fotini Iconomopoulos 0:05
Women especially will become what I call a victim of their own empathy. So it’s going I’m a high level customer service person, I want to take care of others. It’s in my innate nature to want to do my best for everybody. And that’s wonderful. Now, can you make sure that you’re not putting your needs on the back burner for the sake of others? Can you make sure that you are pausing to think about what do I need to get out of this to be successful?

Blake Schofield 0:37
Hi, I’m Blake Schofield, founder and CEO of The Bridge to Fulfillment, mom to three, USA Today top 10 professional coach and former corporate executive who got tired of sacrificing my life for a comfortable paycheck. My mission is to expand women’s perspectives and empower them to achieve greater impact at home and work without sacrifice. This is The Bridge to Fulfillment.

Blake Schofield 1:12
Today on The Bridge to Fulfillment, I’m really excited to introduce guest expert Fotini Iconomopoulos. She is a Spitfire with a ton of knowledge and experience to really help you feel empowered. to really go after an ask for more of what you want in your life. Fotini is the author of say less get more unconventional negotiation techniques to get what you want. She has a passion for the power of forward thinking, going from running a small business to negotiating with Walmart buyers in the corporate world. Today, business executives partner with her to achieve their business goals increase profitability and create a competitive advantage. She hits the stage delivering keynotes to empower teams through her expertise in negotiation, communication and persuasion. To share her strengths with more business leaders for Teenie occasionally returned to the classroom as an instructor of an NBA negotiations at the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto. In addition to her features on TV, media and outlets, including Forbes and Harvard Business Review, she’s been recognized with the National Inclusion award from the network of executive women as well as a top 40 under 40 award. She’s been invited to share her messages with audiences from all industries across the globe. And I can tell you, she dropped some great golden nuggets on this episode today. I could go on and on. But I’m not going to because I want to introduce you to her and allow you to be able to learn from her years of experience, negotiating across many forums and negotiating all the way from billion dollar deals into individual negotiations. What she teaches you will empower you with simple easy steps that you can take to become a better negotiator because the reality is you’re negotiating every single day. And this perhaps is one of the most important skills that you can gain.

Blake Schofield 3:15
So with that said, Welcome to the Bridge to Fulfillment, Fotini. So happy to have you.

Fotini Iconomopoulos 3:49
So happy to be here.

Blake Schofield 3:51
Would you mind just starting off and sharing with our audience a little bit about your background? Who are you? What have you kind of done in your career? And how did you ultimately end up doing the work you do today, which is you mentioned to me and I felt the same way that you really love and are passionate excited to get up and go do every day?

Fotini Iconomopoulos 4:07
Well, I would say my entire career happened acts of her potentially. So I mean, I have a background in family business. My parents and I started a business when I was in high school selling leather and fur coats back in I grew I grew up and then I went away to school and did my MBA in organizational behavior and was recruited by a little company called L’Oreal, where I was negotiating with Walmart on a regular basis and getting involved in some fun projects. Eventually, after a quick move to a food company. I was poached by a negotiation training company, one that had come in to tell us, hey, we’re going to make you even better negotiators. You’ve got millions of dollars running through your fingers with companies like Walmart and so on. And at the end of the negotiation workshop that they put me through they went you should really be doing what we do. And I was like yeah, sure, someday when I’ve got more experiences I hadn’t even hit 30 yet. And they said No seriously, you should be doing what we do. And so I started going all over the world with them. They were based in London. I was based Other than New York office, and I was really criss crossing the globe dealing with clients, everybody from CEOs of billion dollar oil and gas companies to junior account managers doing stuff that I used to do. And I loved it. I really loved teaching all of these people how to achieve their goals, how to get what they wanted, how to be taken seriously, incredibly. And then a client said, it’s great that you trained our team, but we have $100 million on the line, or we have a billion dollars on the line, what do we do? What do we say? And so I ended up building a consulting practice within that organization. And I was working on real life negotiations instead of just the training stuff, and eventually, the company and I had to part ways for various reasons. And I ended up getting calls from my clients going, so when are you going to come back and work with us? And I said, I don’t work for that company anymore. And they said, but we didn’t hire the company, we hired Fotini. And I was like, Okay, well, I guess I’ll just do a favor once in a while, I took a long break. And then I said, I’ll just do a favor for a client who’d become a friend. And that turned into another one. And then I’m like, I’ll just do this until I have to get a real job. And I just celebrated my eight year anniversary. And in that time, I also had my alma mater reach out and say, Hey, would you want to come teach MBA negotiations. And so I got back in the classroom, which was incredibly fun. And HarperCollins reached out and said, We think you should write a book. And other folks reached out said, Hey, can you come speak at our national sales meeting? Can you come speak at our women’s event? Can you come do this other thing, and it’s just been snowballing into this incredible career where I have a chance to speak to so many people and bring my content to the masses. For those people who don’t have giant corporate budgets, we are bosses who are going to be paying for them, you know, they can get the information from the book or from the online course or from, you know, being in an audience somewhere along the way. What I really love is watching people achieve their goals and getting messages, even if it’s from a quick video, someone saw on Instagram, where they went, Hey, I did what you said in that 62nd clip. And I managed to get a promotion or I left an abusive spouse, or I got a crazy client who wasn’t paying me to finally pay me that delinquent invoice. It’s incredible what people can do when you just open up their minds to what I like to think is just some common sense practices. But when we’re faced with difficult conversations, common sense kind of goes out the window. So I’ve just been playing with finding unique ways to help people tap into their common sense when they need it most.

Blake Schofield 7:18
I love that. And what’s so beautiful about your story is what I have seen sort of as the consistent through line is we all have unique gifts talents, and most of us are completely oblivious to because it’s things that are natural and easy for us. And here you were just doing your job thinking well, I don’t have enough experience, I’m not prepared, I’m not ready for XYZ, which I think is very common. Nobody that that really accomplishes significant things felt ready for them. And I think that’s why they’ve accomplished something significant as they step into it with a belief system that they’ll figure it out. And they’ll learn. And as you’ve done this, so much of the opportunities were coming your way, they weren’t actually things you had to seek as a result of your natural gifts, skills and talents. People are asking you, asking you for help asking to work with you. And this is the thing I think people often misunderstand, I think we’ve been taught as a society that we have to work so hard for things, it has to be hard and painful work has to be this grind. And often it’s a grind are harder painful, because we’re misaligned or not actually doing the thing that we’re best and most gifted at when you are aligned things like what you talked about happen all the time. But again, sometimes we just don’t realize them. So it’s just such a beautiful story to hear how that happened to you. Because it’s what I talk to my clients about all the time, when you are doing the thing you’re great at, people will comment, opportunities will come your way. But often it’s the gold sitting at your feet that you didn’t even realize because you weren’t looking at it that way because you didn’t recognize your skills is especially unique or different. It’s just who you are and how you’re doing things. But I love how through this journey for you, you came to really recognize appreciate and sand in the gift that you’ve been given. And how can you use that and continue to expand it with new audiences and new ways to be able to empower people to have the same skills that to you are common sense, but to so many other people they struggle with.

Fotini Iconomopoulos 9:10
I think what’s interesting about what you just said is I used to tell people when they say oh, how did you end up here? How did you end up being a consultant I used to tell people I got lucky. I don’t believe that anymore. What I believe is I put myself in situations where I got to shine where I was exhibiting my passion. So whether it was exhibiting skills, I had a job when I was in high school working for a retail store that sold leather and fur coats and I came home one day and my dad said I need you to quit your job next month. And I said why he said now if you’ve ever seen the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, that is my upbringing. So I grew up in the back of a restaurant, all of that kind of stuff. And my dad said we’re opening up our own leather and fur boutique next month and I said what do you know about leather? And he said, I know I have smart kid. So in the one sense it was I lucky that I had a supportive father who also put me into some serious pressure, but it was Really, because I had demonstrated abilities, and I had demonstrated skill sets that he was able to recognize those, that part wasn’t luck. When I was in consulting, and I had a peer who kept throwing me off the deep end going, you’ll be fine with this new client, you’ll be fine with this ridiculous project, I didn’t have a chance to feel doubtful about my abilities, because I had someone that some would say, I was lucky to be around who pushed me into that deep end. But again, I got into that situation because I exhibited a certain set of behaviors and skills. So is there an element of attracting these people who see these things? Absolutely. Could some people call that luck? Maybe, but I really think it’s what what are you doing to put yourself out there? What skills are you exhibiting? And how are you demonstrating that passion and that unique ability? And that’s when people will start to recognize it now? Will you capitalize on those opportunities? When people recognize it as a different story? Are you in the mindset to be able to do that, but I feel like it’s this, we tend to discount what we are doing and call it luck, when really that’s not it.

Blake Schofield 11:04
100%, and we call it luck, or what I often see is we don’t take credit for it. Because we think well, I’m just one person out of this team that drove these results without understanding what was your contribution to that team? And how then was that integral to actually creating the impact? So I love that. I love that. Well, let’s dive in a little bit. One of the things you said you wanted to share with our audience is really about how women can be authentic, likeable, and get what we want all at the same time. Can you share a little bit about what you mean by that? And what are some of the steps or things we need to consider in order to do that?

Fotini Iconomopoulos 11:39
Women are stuck in what is typically called in the academia world, the double bind, so you need to be likable enough that people want to deal with you, but not so likeable, that people feel like you are weak, and they can take advantage of you. And when it comes to negotiation, in general, when it comes to getting what you want, it is a very delicate balance. Too often, the biggest mistake I see people making is they assume that likeability comes from just giving the other party everything that they want, well, I just won’t push them on this one, because I don’t want them to hate me, I’ll just give them that extra little thing, because I want them to like me, I am worried about damaging the relationship. So I’ll do this extra thing that is above and beyond, even though I may burn out in the process. And so whether it’s internal negotiations with your peers, and taking on too much work, whether it is in your house, when you’re taking on too many tasks with your kids and your spouse, or anybody else who might be there, or whether it is you know, high stakes negotiations, where you’re talking about your profitability and money in your pocket, we tend to give away too much all for this fear of damaging the relationship because we recognize intuitively that there is bias when it comes to women in negotiation. There’s plenty of statistics and data to back that up. And I think women get it. They know if you come from a disadvantaged groups, if you are not part of that privileged group who gets to get away with everything you are going to be discriminated against. But how do you deal with that? Well, the unfortunate reality is it doesn’t come from giving people everything that they want. And anybody who spend time around children knows that when you give a child everything that they want, you end up with a spoiled child, and then you end up with more temper tantrums, and more expectations and just more difficult management in general. So the same is true whether you’re in the boardroom or or in the playroom. And so when I tell people that likeability comes from other things, they tend to have this aha moment, because where it actually comes from is generally from three things. And the first is just from having something in common. The second you and I started talking about this common thread, this mutual shared belief in empowering others, and so on, it makes us want to go oh, I want to work with her. How do I find a way to work with this person. And it doesn’t have to be a super deep thing in common either. It could be something as simple as, Oh, you did an MBA, so Did I or you’re from this neck of the woods, so am I or you love wearing the color red? Me too. It’s my power color. It could be anything teeny, tiny, that starts to make that fear of the unknown, dissipate. And we’re looking for excuses to work with them versus against them. I have an entire business that exists today. Because my clients went, I want to work with you. I like working with you. They could have had another consultant with even more experience than me because I was the youngest in my crew, I was 10 to 15 years younger than everybody else that I worked with. But instead of having that other option, they went we want we like working with you, we like dealing with you. The other thing that makes people like us is from ping genuine compliments. And I say genuine because we can sense when someone’s not being authentic. We can sense that smarmy salesperson bit. So you mentioned authenticity. And I hesitate to give people scripts on what to say there are some guiding principles I’ll always lean on. But generally speaking, I tell people don’t mimic what I’m going to say because what comes out of my mouth may not sound authentic coming out of yours. And the second it doesn’t sound authentic or genuine people are gonna go Something’s off. I can’t articulate it. I can’t pinpoint it. But something doesn’t feel right to me. And that actually breaks down the trust instead of building it the way I did earlier by finding something in common with you. And then the third third principle that people take for granted when it comes to likability is cooperative people. So we like working with people who are trying to be cooperative. If you are going to be meeting demanding of me, if you are going to be banging your fist on the table, odds are I’m going to be looking for ways to work around you instead of with you, I will be looking for the first alternative to somebody who does exactly what you do, because I don’t want to deal with you. So when I say cooperative again, it doesn’t mean giving them everything that they want. It means exploring things, it means being curious about the other person, it means looking for creative and complex solutions and asking questions about them. So that authenticity is going if you are being curious, it’s going to come out innately, it’s going to come out naturally for you that compliment that you can share with someone that thing in common that you can share with them all comes from being your authentic self. And using that likability in your interest instead of working against you by giving away things that would be important to you. So it’s a fine balance to strike. But once we start to understand where that likability comes from, we’re less likely to make that costly mistake of trying to buy it instead of building it.

Blake Schofield 16:10
So good. And I see that all of the time, the desire to be seen as a quote unquote, team player, or liked. And often it’s exactly what you say, which is, in doing so we actually are creating a lot of misalignment, a lot of friction, a lot of earnouts a lot of internal resentment, because we’re giving far more than we actually want to give. And we’re giving because we think we have to give, in order to protect our job be seen as safe, not upset somebody. And so I agree with you. I see this all of the time. And I think some of the biggest challenges with this, as I see is women are raised differently than men. As little girls, we’ve been told, be nice, don’t hurt somebody’s feelings. And often I think we’ve been raised to take care of other people as opposed to understanding the balance of taking care of yourself so that you can then take care of other people. And so there tends to be a lot of belief systems that I see forms that are sitting underneath that balance of understanding intellectually, okay, yes, I don’t have to give everything but this natural, survival based fear instinct that says to me, I’m not safe. If this person doesn’t like me. Do you run into that? And how do you help people sort of overcome some of the more subconscious or more belief system work around that? Because I often find tactically, people understand that, but emotionally, they struggle to implement it.

Fotini Iconomopoulos 17:36
Yeah. I mean, that is a huge challenge. Every time I run a workshop, because I still do training programs with corporate folks, the first question I asked people is, what is your biggest fear in negotiation, and the big fear is, I don’t want to ruin the relationship, I don’t want to damage the relationship. And if you are driven by that fear all the time, then you are going to do yourself a disservice. But you’re also going to do a disservice to the person across from you. Because you’re leading them down a path that’s going to actually lead to dissatisfaction. Because if you are constantly giving them and giving them and giving them things out of fear of them not liking you, when you run out of things to give, they’re going to have a temper tantrum, or they’re going to be super disappointed, or they’re going to be shocked and go, What do you mean, you can’t do this thing for me, we’re doing everything for me. So you’re actually setting themselves setting them up for failure, instead of satisfaction. Satisfaction comes from being able to take care of your needs, as well as theirs. And I always ask people some really simple questions like, Are you somebody people would call rude? No, generally, most of them 99.9% of the people that I deal with are no and I give them examples of I even share an example in my book, say, let’s get more and I talked about it in all of my keynotes where I give them an example of a text negotiation that happened between me and somebody who I was reviewing for snow removal from my house. I live in Toronto where snow was pretty awful in the winter. And I needed somebody who was going to come shovel the snow. And so I put a post up in a local Facebook group. And there was a correspondence that went back and forth with one potential person. And I ended up having a ridiculous negotiation with them where they came down from $800 as an opening offer down to $300 in a matter of minutes. And when I put those that language up there on the screen, I asked everybody, is there anything in there? That was rude? That was impolite. That was any of those things. And from my end, certainly there wasn’t from his, it’s questionable. And people are always kind of, again, all stricken in that moment to go, Oh, you were super polite. You were really congenial when you were giving all of those things. When I look at every single one of those message boxes that came from you. There was nothing that was aggressive or rude or cold or any of those things. And that’s just a really lovely way in action to show people that being rude is not what we’re going to be doing here. That is not what we’re aiming to do. But unfortunately, our brains are penetrated by so many pop culture moments where we are sent these subconscious messages whether it’s white seeing movies like Wall Street and seeing the guys in the slicked back suits and fast talking and all that kind of stuff. But when I tell people that, you know, the reason one of the reasons my book is called say less get more is because we need to do less talking, we need to pause to slow our brains down a little bit, that is eye opening for a lot of people. And so when you can just take a moment to take a calming breath, you know, we I try to give people as many coping mechanisms as I can. So the easiest one is a meditative breath breathing in for for holding for six, and then out for eight, just taking that time to think things through just hitting that pause button before you hit the send button on a message will give you the chance to regroup and make sure you’re not doing something that you’re going to regret. Just taking that time to go, I’m not a rude person, I’m not being greedy. I’m not asking them for something that they can’t afford to do. I’m not asking them to go bankrupt. I’m not ask them to lose their jobs on my behalf. I’m being quite reasonable here. And it’s something that I would do for them. So why wouldn’t I be at be getting the same in return? It’s just taking that pause to reflect for a moment, whether it’s in the form of that meditative breath, where that’s in the form of a power pose, which another one that comes up frequently. Any one of those things could be that moment that goes, I’m being quite reasonable here. If I would do this, why wouldn’t I ask them to do this? And one of the big questions that I asked women, because statistically, and I think you mentioned this, that’s off the top, statistically, we are more likely to fight for others harder than we are to fight for ourselves. And knowing that, I will ask someone a simple question like, Would you do this? Would you fight for somebody else to get these things? And if the answer is absolutely, and it always is, then I ask why wouldn’t you fight just as hard for yourself for something that’s going to benefit you, your family and everybody else around you, because you’re going to be less burnt out, you’re going to be better rewarded, you’re going to be a happier person, you’re going to be all of those things. So just having those few moments of reflection by pressing the pause button is going to be incredibly important for folks to just kind of undo some of those subconscious messages that we’ve had for so long and start to reflect on Well, what is my reality right now forget the messages that other people are sending. What is the reality that I am facing, I’m not asking for something unreasonable, I’m not being rude or condescending, I’m not being aggressive in this moment. And as as I can better get in touch with that I’m going to be more authentic and more congenial as those messages come out to the other party as well.

Blake Schofield 22:21
I appreciate what you’re really sharing, which is to be able to slow down enough to calm your nervous system, really look at the emotions or fear things that come up for you, and then stop, pause and make a more logical decision. And I think that that’s so important. And as women, we’ve not really been taught a lot of those things. There’s a lot of those things that sort of, I teach in the Bridgestone fulfillment, because there’s so critical learning how to use your emotions to work for you, as opposed to your emotions driving your life. And I hear some a similar thread in terms of what your teaching was, which is to give people tools, see more thoughtful, to be more strategic, and to overcome some of the natural barriers or belief systems or fears that are actually creating behaviors that are getting them further from what they want. Yep. Right. So instead, you have the time to pause, identify that, understand that and then make the choices that will actually get you closer to where you want to go. As you think about and you kind of educate people on what are the key steps to being successful in negotiating? I often say, and I would assume you might agree, but I don’t want to judge. I haven’t say that you negotiate all day, every day?

Fotini Iconomopoulos 23:30

Blake Schofield 23:32
Like it’s one of the most critical skills you can absolutely have. And I think again, as women, we’ve been underserved. And not just from a media standpoint, I think a lot of times we’ve not been taught this. And I think again, we haven’t understood the value of it. But understanding how to negotiate and negotiate well is a game changer in every avenue. I too came from a retail background. And negotiation was one of the first things I learned actually, when I was in human resources, starting to hire people. And then I went through negotiation classes as a buyer and a merchant. And I see how the skills that I’ve developed over the last several decades benefit me every single day. So as we think about this skill and knowing that it’s something that people use every single day, what would be the key steps you would tell them to think about are the key things to set themselves up for success in negotiating well.

Fotini Iconomopoulos 24:22
So I would say you need to prepare too many people go in there winging it. And certainly I would hope that most of your listeners know that that’s not an effective strategy. Even though it sounds Elementary, it’s about knowing what do I want to get out of this and flipping it around and asking this really important question. What can they afford to do for me because too often what I find is going back to our previous conversation, women especially will become what I call a victim of their own empathy. So it’s going I’m a high level customer service person, I want to take care of others. It’s in my innate nature to want to do my best for everybody. And that’s wonderful. Now, can you make sure that you’re not Putting your needs on the backburner for the sake of others? Can you make sure that you are pausing to think about what do I need to get out of this to be successful? And what can they afford to do for me? Can they afford even more than what you were about to ask for? Can they afford to do something in exchange? Anytime someone asks you a question, because I truly believe that we are negotiating all the time when someone asks you for help and says, Hey, can you help me with this project? Can you do this extra task? Can you pick up my kids from school? Can you pause and ask the question, what can they afford to do for me? Well, sure, if you can take over this thing at the school, then I’d be happy to pick up the kids. Or if you can give me that data by the end of the day, then I’d be happy to help you with that presentation. Or if you can help me decide what’s going to come off of my giant laundry list of things to do, then I’d be happy to add yours to the list as well. So know what you want to get out of it and make sure you’re not ignoring those needs, but then pause to ask the question, what can they afford to do for me? Because too often I meet people in the corporate world, people with loads of experience, not just women, but men as well, who will just go for the bare minimum, and I’m going but is that really the best that you could do? Is that really worth all of this effort? And this friction that you’re about to cause? Can you just ask that simple question of what can they afford to do for me, what is the most that I can get out of this? I’m not asking him again, I’m gonna say it again, I’m not asking you to go bankrupt, I’m not asking you to lose their jobs, what is in the world of possibility for these individuals that I’m sitting across from so that you don’t become a victim of your own empathy and find yourself in that burnout position all the time.

Blake Schofield 26:27
So good. And the examples you gave, if there’s anything anybody listens to today, that moment, to me was just absolute gold. There’s so many instances, I hear people in their roles with their bosses that they feel a victim to all of the projects, and all of the work and all of the things that keep coming their way. And just that one thing that you said, when asked with this new project, or more things come on your lens, more things come on your plate to do the ability to stop and say, sure I can do that. But what and then asking, What could we take off the plate? What could we deprioritize? What could we send to somebody else? What could you do to help me unable to do this is huge, huge. And the second thing you said that really hit home for me is and I agree, I see it all the time, which is we either ask for the least amount possible, or we don’t ask at all. And we don’t recognize that by doing that we create a huge amount of friction, stress, anxiety and burnout for ourselves. We don’t recognize the cost of that decision. And so if anything that you get from today’s episode, to me, those two lessons are so incredibly powerful. And you could literally apply them today. And you could apply them every single day for the rest of your life. And it’s sometimes I think people believe it’s in the big things that change our lives. But often it’s the small things I say how you do one thing is how you do everything. So if in your life and your job, you don’t ask for what you want, I guarantee you also don’t ask for what you want from your spouse, from your parents and from everyone else around you. And that actually creates massive friction, burnout, frustration and unhappiness. So just making some small moves, where instead of not asking or stead of asking the least amount, you spend time to get clear what you want and what they can do for you. And you’ve just tried once, and then you do it again, those small things, will ripple effect change your life in such a positive way?

Fotini Iconomopoulos 28:23
Yeah, I mean, you and I were talking earlier before we started recording about the generation of women who is getting sandwiched between family, their kids, and so on, and then the needs of their parents. And so when I think about negotiation, you’re negotiating boundaries, if you can use that method to go, what can they afford to do for me? If my parents are asking me for the umpteenth time to come visit? Or take them here or whatever? Can I ask that question? Can you afford to ask someone else to do that? Can you afford to wait another hour so that I can have time to eat or whatever it is, if you can just ask that little question, you are now creating boundaries that are going to give you so much peace of mind that are going to have exactly that ripple effect that you are talking about for five more negotiations or 100. More negotiations still to come. And boy, will it remove so much friction from your life when you create that first initial boundary.

Blake Schofield 29:11
Fotini, it’s been such a pleasure having you today. I love how you if you look at the span of what you’ve done in your career, you’ve worked with some of the largest companies on huge billion dollar contracts. And then you’ve worked individually with people and I love how you’ve really been able to come and make negotiations. So practical on a day to day basis for our listeners. So thank you so much for that. Oh, it’s been my absolute pleasure. And so with that said, I’d love to ask Is there anything I didn’t ask you that I should have or anything else that’s on your heart that you really want to share?

Fotini Iconomopoulos 29:41
I would say the one thing I would love for people to take away from this podcast is just learning to be quiet. You know, again, I named the book say less get more for so many reasons. But when we can just shut up we get out of our own way. We make people hang on our everywhere. heard, we give people the chance to reflect on this valuable piece of information or this proposal that we just gave them. But too often I find one of the biggest mistakes people make is they talk themselves out of a deal, they talk themselves out of a good situation for themselves. And the misconception is that, well, if I’m quiet, they’re gonna think I’m stupid. And that is not the case. Because you can frame that quiet with, I need a moment to think about this, I need a moment to make sure I say something that’s going to be beneficial for the both of us, I need a moment to just reflect on what the best possible option is. So you can frame that silence without looking stupid without looking like a wallflower, you can own that moment. And the more you own, that, you are going to look so much more confident, and you’re going to get such better results, you’re going to allow that peace of mind to come in and make more rational decisions. And you’re going to look so much more credible to the other party, so they won’t keep trying to push those boundaries. So if we can just teach ourselves to just shut up a little bit, and get out of our own way, I feel like the world would be a better place. But people will get what they want without all the friction.

Blake Schofield 31:01
So good. And I would also say I would tack on to that I think often we say the thing we want and we’re so uncomfortable with the silence, not just because we think somebody will think that we’re done, but because we’re fearful that maybe they’re unhappy or don’t like it. And we don’t like sitting in that moment of what’s going to happen next. Yeah. And what I would encourage, if you’ve experienced that, or you feel that way is to understand that often when you then break that silence and start talking, you don’t allow that person time to process and think through what you’ve given them. It’s the same just the flip of what you’re saying. And so often we don’t get what we want, because we don’t even let the person process and then they become so overwhelmed with the amount of information coming at them that their answer is going to be no. So there’s such a huge benefit and to your point, saying less for yourself, and allowing yourself to process, but also allowing that other person the opportunity to really process what you shared, think about their options, and give them the space to actually figure out how to make it work, what you’re asking them to do, instead of running over it so fast that they you’ve either then taken that option from them, because you’re so nervous about it, or you’ve overwhelmed them because there’s too much information, they don’t know how to process it.

Fotini Iconomopoulos 32:14
Yeah, it takes a high level of self awareness to be able to hear yourself and learn how to shut up. So I’d say the more self awareness you can build, the better and I have a you have an opportunity for everybody in your audience to work on that. Because on my website, if you go to Photinia, there is a negotiation self assessment quiz there. And I can pretty much guess out of the five personality profiles that I’ve put on there, I can guess what the majority of your audiences are going to come up with in which category and there’s no wrong answer. But there’s pros and cons about their strengths and weaknesses to all of them. So the more aware you are of your strengths and your weaknesses, the better you will be, the more aware you are of the need for that silence in that space, the better you will perform. So build that self awareness, build that mental pause button to bring in the silence to allow everyone to benefit from that. And I guarantee you’re gonna get better results.

Blake Schofield 33:06
Wonderful. Thank you so much. Like I said, it’s just been such a pleasure having you this morning, we will go ahead and put your website link in the show notes so that people can find it and take the quiz. That sounds fantastic. I’m looking forward to taking myself I always believe that you can continue to build your skills, no matter where you are in the journey. Are there any other places if our audience would love to connect with you and just learn more? How else could they do that?

Fotini Iconomopoulos 33:31
Absolutely. I’m everywhere on socials. If you Google my name, so you can find me on LinkedIn. I love playing on Instagram and answering questions there at Fotini icon. You can find videos of all of my media appearances and stuff on my YouTube channel. Again, just search for Photinia icon all over there. But you know, I’m on all of the regular stuff so you can find me with the same handle everywhere.

Blake Schofield 33:53
Wonderful. Well, for those of you listening, thank you so much for joining us today. And until next time, have a great week. Thanks for joining me today. Rather than hope the grass will be greener identify what the right next step is. We can help you do just that. Get clarity on where you are in your journey to career fulfillment, where you’re headed, optimal paths to get there, and the right next step to take. Start your complimentary personalized career fulfillment plan at Again, you can get your personalized career fulfillment plan at Thanks again for joining and have a great week ahead.