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Leadership, Negotiation

How to turn your emotions into your “superpower” in a negotiation?

Negotiation involves a rational decision-making process and emotions. 

Understanding the “rational” part of the negotiation is relatively easy.

Understanding the “emotional” part is much more challenging.  

The key to succeeding in negotiation is to understand ourselves and our opponent’s emotions and psychology. 

In most cases, emotional/psychological factors are the ones responsible for the failure of two people to reach the “optimal” negotiation resolution.

Your emotions play a very important role in negotiations. They fuel your behaviors, energize you, and allow you to strengthen – or distance and damage – relationships with the people you’re negotiating with.

Regardless of its importance, very often are neither understood nor effectively addressed by the parties to the dispute, also not properly controlled and managed.

For you to become an effective negotiator you must take into account not only the economic, political and physical aspects of the process but mainly your emotions as well of all of the parties.  

Be aware of your own emotions and control your triggers

Emotional triggers can affect negatively your negotiations. That’s why is so important for you to be aware of this possibility will improve your odds of recognizing the effects of such triggers in the heat of the moment. 

Defuse your counterpart’s emotional triggers

First of all, you have to remember that her mood may have nothing to do with you. The “bad mood” of the other person could be incidental to the negotiation. In this case, encourage her to draw a connection to the source of these emotions.  

Try your best, by asking: “Terrible day out, isn’t it?” or “How was the drive over?” Your goal is to “light up” the conversation and your counterpart’s feelings. You can go a long way toward minimizing the influence of negative emotions on judgments and choices.

Don’t be a “happy negotiator”

Negative emotions as a result of the lack of fairness, irrespective of the right rational decision, anger or others can often cause deal-making to break down as side sacrifices its needs in order to “save face”. 

On the other hand, you feeling happy can be dangerous as well, since your happiness can hijack your emotions and make you accept less than you might otherwise be able to get. 

Just enter on a negotiation process with a positive attitude, which tends to lead to better outcomes: both sides are agreeable and conciliatory. 

Don’t suppress your emotions

Researchers found that negotiators who suppressed their emotions experienced impaired cognitive processing.

In a situation, that your counterpart makes a personal attack against you, don’t suppress your emotions in an attempt to resist “rising to the bait.” Instead, use the attack to help you identify important issues. 

Negotiators that suppress their emotions at particular situations are less well-liked by their counterparts, a fact that may have diminished their ability to engage in future joint value creation. 

Your counterpart can lose respect for you by you trying to suppress a feeling that comes on strong – such as the outrage you may feel after being issued a threat. 

Use your emotions, don’t abuse them!

On any given day, the average person experiences emotion 90 percent of the time. So, instead of trying to suppress your emotions, consider when you may be subject to strong emotional experiences in advance and reappraise the situation before experiencing the emotion.

Through reappraisal, you can focus on the meaning of a situation and anticipate your emotional reaction, and use the information to adjust aspects of future proposals. 

Use your intelligence, the emotional one!

Emotions provide both you and your counterpart with unique information that may lead to mutually beneficial outcomes.

That’s why instead of suppressing them you have to handle strong emotions well, both your own and your counterparts, specifically when you are dealing with tough negotiation tactics. 

For that, you must use your “emotional intelligence”

In other words, you must master your main follow capacities of: self-awareness, self-regulation, internal motivation, empathy, and social skills. 

1. Self-Awareness

True self-awareness involves identifying your emotions at the moment and understanding the effect those emotions are having on the people around you. In that regard, self-awareness is a precursor to “tactical empathy”.

Becoming more self-aware takes conscious and constant effort. 

During a negotiation, silently label your own negative emotions. This gives you space to recenter yourself and helps to reduce your counterpart’s power. 

Being aware of your emotions gives you the power to know how you can best deal with your counterpart and adjust your attitude accordingly. 

2. Self-Regulation

Consciously control your emotions, by focusing on how to achieve your goals, is a self-regulation behavior that will help you to not fall in the temptation of emotionally driven impulses and reactions.

Also, strive to accept where you’re at the moment and attempt to refocus your attention on understanding your counterpart. Did they trigger your frustration by taking an aggressive tone? Better yet, did you misinterpret their tone as a personal slam, when in fact they are mad at the situation? If you direct your focus to uncover the cause of their emotions, you won’t be immobilized by your own.

3. Internal Motivation

Becoming a more effective negotiator begins with internal motivation. That means that you are not only driven by achieving external rewards. You are internally motivated to pursue personal growth opportunities and are more apt to feel “flow” and completely absorbed in an activity.

4. Empathy

If you can understand the emotions and perceptions that are driving your counterpart’s actions, then you’re more equipped to influence their behavior in an organic and lasting way. When you pair empathy with self-awareness and self-regulation, you have the ingredients for conducting “tactical empathy” – one of the most powerful negotiation tactics.

5. Social Skills

In a negotiation, social skills can help you establish rapport, draw insight from your environment, ease tension, pick up on other nonverbal cues, and add humor. It will amaze you how far you can get with fitting humor.

As you know, negotiation is an art. You can look at “emotional intelligence” as it’s a paintbrush. You must master your hand on how to better grab it and paint with it. 

That’s a learning process, made of low-stakes practice. There are countless everyday opportunities to hone your Emotional Intelligence skills and become a more effective negotiator, it always helps to have a foundation to work from.

Set your pace. Turn on your emotional intelligence. Distinguish yourself as a master negotiator. 

In our article: How to negotiate skillfully and master yourself as an effective leader?

We already gave you some more insights to help you to negotiate skillfully.

For that purpose we invite you to know more about our next Training Program: Negotiate as a Woman @ AKALI Academy. Continue to follow us to know more details about it. 

Meanwhile, thank you for engaging with us on this blog. Please let us know your thoughts, questions, or doubts by leaving us a comment below. 

We also invite you to follow us on Instagram, like us on Facebook, share us on Linked In, or visit us on www.akali-academy.com and sign up for our free tool.

I look forward to continuing the conversation with you.

Have a great day,

Liliana Domingues

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