How Can You Control You Emotions When You Are Negotiating?

Emotions are powerful, but we need to learn to control them
Emotions are powerful, but we need to learn to control them
Image Credit: eltpics

Thinking that your emotions are not going to get in your way the next time that you enter into a negotiation is just foolish. We all feel emotions all the time and depending on how your negotiations are going, you may be feeling a lot of emotions. Although there is no problem feeling emotions, we don’t want our emotions to take us over. If they do, it may become hard to negotiate and even harder to reach a deal with the other side. As negotiators, we are going to have to find ways to control our emotions. Just exactly how are we supposed to go about doing this?

Dealing With Emotions During A Negotiation

Guess what – we are all humans. One of the characteristics of being a human is that you have emotions. Negotiations can be stressful events and during a negotiation there is a very good chance that we will display our emotions the other side. What we all need is access to the negotiation advice studies of conflict resolution and management. To guard against acting irrationally or in ways that can harm you, we should take our emotional temperature during a negotiation. Specifically, what we need to do is to try to gauge whether our emotions are manageable, starting to heat up, or threatening to boil over.

How To Manage Your Emotions

When we go into a negotiation, we need to have a strategy for lowering our emotional temperature. One of the things that we need to do is to develop an emergency plan. What you need to do is to give yourself an ‘out’ – basically this is a break that allows you to take a walk in order to cool down, to call a friend or colleague for reinforcement, or perhaps remind yourself of your BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement). The ability to know when and how to walk away from the negotiation table are two of the most important negotiation skills a negotiator can bring can bring with them. This means a negotiator should be able to identify their best alternative to a negotiated agreement.

Alternatively, we need to be able to shift the focus. You can do this by asking questions that you carefully time, bringing in new information, and testing your assumptions. In this negotiation scenario, imagine a negotiator is in charge of scouting for office space for a new branch of her company in a neighboring city. He does his research, meets with several real estate agents, and chooses the agent he qualitatively and quantitatively feels is the best candidate for finding the company’s new branch location.

After selecting his preferred agent, the agent then begins to send his principal many options, so many that the principal feels overwhelmed with the number of possible locations for the new company branch. Having options can be a blessing, but it can also stifle decision making and lead to inaction. Negotiation research examines choice bracketing, or the tendency to group large numbers of different choices into sets, and offers a case study of shifting focus when principals are under stress to choose among large numbers of disparate choices.

Finally, in order to manage your emotions you are going to want to diagnose your ailment. What core concerns of yours are not being met during the negotiation? Is it possible that you are hurt because you feel unappreciated or dismissed? Once you’ve taken the time to understand why you’re upset, you’ll be better able to signal what you need.

What All Of This Means For You

Emotions are powerful forces that all negotiators need to keep under control. This can be very difficult to do depending on how the negotiation that we are currently involved in is going. We need to understand that if we’re not careful and we allow our emotions to get the better of us, we may harm our chances of reaching a deal with the other side.

What negotiators need to be able to do is to find ways for us to manage our emotions. We need to understand that only by doing this can we allow our negotiation to move forward. We have to have a strategy that we can use to lower our emotional temperature when we feel it starting to increase. We also want to be able to shift the focus of the negotiation in order to allow us to calm down. We have to be aware of what sets us off so that we can keep it under control.

We all have emotions and we need to understand that they can play a role in any negotiation that we are participating in. This means that we need to make sure that we remain aware of how we are currently feeling and keep our emotions in check. If we can do this, then perhaps our emotions can become a powerful tool that we can use during a negotiation that will allow us to get the deal that we are looking for.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: If you feel your emotions taking you over, what steps should you take so that they don’t disrupt your negotiations?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

During a negotiation, it can be all too easy to make a mistake. When this happens, we often look back at our actions and wonder how we could have been so stilly as to do something like that. It turns out that a lot of the mistakes that we make are the same mistakes that we keep making over and over again. If we can take the time to understand what they look like and why they occur, then we might have the ability to avoid repeating making them once again.