Staying unemotional in a situation that will impact your future is easier said than done. But it’s also one of the most important things to keep in mind as you head into negotiations, no matter what’s on the table. Humans are emotional. And when we get emotional, we stop thinking rationally, which can lead us to do and say things that we will regret later. We can blow a big deal by letting our anger and frustration get the better of us. When emotions take over, we stop listening to the other person and focus on the feelings instead of the goals we have for the negotiation.
So, what should we do if we sense emotions are taking over in a negotiation? Try these tips.
1. Know your triggers
Before going into a negotiation, know what tends to trigger your negative emotions. If you are aware that one of your emotional triggers is someone interrupting you, for example, it will be easier to remain calm if it happens. Knowing yourself is the first step in successful negotiations.
2. Be mindful
Keep your finger on your emotional pulse during bargaining. Notice your thoughts and feelings so that you can counteract them as needed. If you can stay aware of how you feel during the conversation, you can more quickly respond to those emotions, instead of becoming triggered by them.
3. Move back towards facts
If you can catch it soon enough, this might work. You can redirect the conversation back to the facts of the case and away from the raising emotions or the people involved.
4. Take a timeout
If emotions start to run high, suggest taking a short break to regroup. This can give everyone a chance to regain their composure before moving forward. That short break can end up saving time and the deal.
5. Use active listening
This tip is one of your best defenses when the other party is getting frustrated. Maybe they feel they aren’t being heard or acknowledged for their ideas. You can effectively reverse their tense emotions by moving into active listening. This will let them know that you are listening and understanding what they are proposing.
6. Remember your goal
If you feel yourself becoming angry or frustrated, remind yourself about what you know about emotions clouding judgments. As mentioned above, emotions are a natural part of life, but they can be your worst enemy at the negotiation table. Work to stay composed. If you need to take a break to collect yourself, that’s always an option.