The Negotiator Magazine

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5. Emotions. In some negotiations, especially in a bitter dispute, feelings may be more important than talk. Emotions on one side tend to generate emotions on the other side and this may quickly bring a negotiation to an impasse or an end. For this reason it is important to be aware not only of your own emotions but also those of the other party. This awareness is the hallmark of emotional intelligence – the best known predictor of success in life. It also means that an effective negotiator needs to deal with the emotions that arise during a session in an appropriate way. And sometimes dealing appropriately with the emotions once you are aware of them is best achieved by not bringing them into the negotiation session – that is, by maintaining emotional distance from whatever is being discussed. There are many techniques for mastering emotional distance. However, in other circumstances, it may be best to make the emotions explicit and acknowledge them as legitimate in order to deal with the emotions and hence the negotiation effectively. Thus dealing with emotion in negotiation is not a simple thing but by becoming more aware of what you are feeling and then learning when it is appropriate to either distance yourself from, or acknowledge the emotion, you will become a more effective and successful negotiator. Also, it will then be much easier to deal with difficult negotiations and difficult people.

6. Difficult People and Heavy Subjects. Everyone has dealt with at least one negotiation from hell. There are different ways and techniques of dealing with difficult people depending on the problematic behavior. Whether it’s the bully boss, the person using the “take-no-prisoners” strategy, or the passive aggressive co-worker, each one requires knowing how to stay in control and conscious of what you are doing to avoid automatically reacting to the other side. It is equally important to know the techniques and attitudes that are essential to make such dealings easier.

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April 2006