Do you find yourself getting upset, annoyed, or angry when trying to communicate about your needs? If so, you may be shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to negotiating. According to Stuart Diamond, author of Getting More: You Can Negotiate to Succeed in Work and Life, emotions hurt negotiations.
In his experience, powerful people are not always the best negotiators. Keen listeners are. This is why women are instinctively better at negotiating than men. Because they listen more, they collect more information to help them persuade. And because we live in a male-dominated world, women have less raw power. So they learn to be more creative in negotiating.
In contrast, emotional people listen less and process less information. Instead of focusing on goals, emotional negotiators focus on punishment, such as blaming the other party. When you are in control of your emotions and “use” them sparingly, they can help you make a point. But if used too much, you lose credibility.
How can you learn to control emotions in negotiations? If you get emotional, take a break. And have realistic expectations. For example, if you expect the other person to be outrageous, you won’t get upset when they are. If the other person gets emotional, give them an apology, a concession or expression of empathy, such as “I understand.” It is not in your best interest for the other person to be emotionally reactive, so it is in your best interest to help that person regain control.
Interestingly, the same principles of negotiation apply to personal and professional relationships. These include:
- Put yourself in the other person’s shoes
- Communicate clearly
- Stay focused on your goals
- Get firm commitments
- Don’t storm out.
Realize that the world is irrational. Thus, the more important the negotiation is to someone, the more emotional they will be. It makes no difference whether you are discussing a billion-dollar deal or your child wanting an ice cream!