We get paid well to negotiate on behalf of our clients.
Brilliant negotiators understand and manage the emotions of all parties involved in negotiations, including their own.
Emotions pose the biggest risk to a successful negotiation according to Harvard Business Review – so let’s take a deeper look at this important topic.
Different emotions trigger different reactions. The fight or flight reaction is human nature and is a powerful survival strategy but can be extremely damaging to a negotiation.
Our fight instinct causes us to escalate conflict in the negotiation which we know will reduce communication, trust and information sharing. Our instinct for flight will cause us to respond too quickly, exit the negotiation prematurely and have less patience and persistence, both important characteristics in any negotiation.
Fight is caused by anger.
Flight is caused by anxiety.
A study, done by Alison Wood Brooks from Harvard Business School, found that negotiators who felt anxiety during the negotiations made deals that were 12% less financially attractive than those who didn’t feel anxiety.
Anger and anxiety are strong emotions and can be caused by many things. Sometimes in negotiations, your counterpart will deliberately do things to evoke these emotions in you or your clients to give them an advantage. Sometimes, inexperienced negotiators will elevate anger or anxiety in a mistaken belief that it will benefit the process and sometimes people just do dumb things that cause these emotions. No matter what the cause, our job as a professional negotiator is not to allow these emotions to influence or impact us.
The first step in managing these emotions is to go into the negotiations in the right mindset. If you have thought about the possible scenarios, made yourself totally present (mindfulness) and are prepared to observe, be aware and be strategic with your responses, you will be well on your way to mastering the tricky elements of the negotiation process.
Next Week: Using Emotions to Your Advantage in Negotiations
Have you learned the important skills to make you a Master Certified Negotiation Expert?