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How to Make Your Emotions Work
for You in Negotiations

Do emotions compromise negotiations? Not when you harness your emotions in the right way. Even though traditional business wisdom in most cultures suggests that showing emotion is a sign of weakness, recent studies show emotions can be used to foster win-win solutions in business, dispute resolution, and interpersonal relationships.

Negotiation Simulation Game Training can aid you to better control the way you experience emotions and influence how you process information. Additionally, simulation helps you express your emotions in a way that positively relays social inferences and influences how others in the room behave. For a master negotiator who’s aware of their emotional intelligence, a strategic display of emotion can work to create positive outcomes.

Emotions Increase Self-Awareness for Positive Negotiation Outcomes

Self-awareness is your ability to identify, control, and understand your own emotions. When you're self-aware, you're in tune with your emotions.

During negotiations, self-awareness helps you avoid adverse feelings such as anxiety, sadness, nervousness, and fear.

With the traditional way of handling unpleasant emotions being to deny your emotions, you may not be able to recognize how your underlying feelings are affecting your thought processes, decisions, and behaviors. Negotiation training can work to improve your mindfulness and self-awareness by enhancing your ability to identify and understand your own emotions and those of others.

Emotional Intelligence Helps Avoid Negotiation Blocks

Negotiation training classes prepare participants to not only identify their own emotions but also recognize and reconcile other people's emotions. Once you identify negative emotions that may lead to a breakdown in discussions, you can act to counter such blocks. Some common emotion-generated communication blocks include:

  • Closed feedback loops
  • Victim mentality
  • Passive-aggressive communication
  • Shaming and blaming of colleagues
  • Leaders not listening to team members
  • Rebellion and mutiny against leaders
  • Acrimony and dissociation

Empathy Makes Win-Win Possible

Shared emotions give rise to emotional connections and interpersonal understanding. In simulation training, participants are taught that when we allow our emotions to lead us into 'wearing someone else's shoe,' we develop a deeper understanding and more intimate relationship with the 'owner of the shoe.'

Empathy allows a negotiator to anticipate how decisions, actions, and behaviors affect other people and how they react. When you can anticipate others’ reactions, you have a strategic advantage in negotiations as you can create a value exchange that favors you.

Emotions Improve Social Graces

When you're devoid of emotions, you are likely to communicate in a mechanical manner which others may find difficult to relate to. You probably have that one friend or colleague who only speaks facts and has a low tolerance for divergent opinions. Or that boss who will rush into business meetings without bothering with introductions.

Negotiators are more likely to reach amicable and agreeable terms when social graces are observed. Courtesy and etiquette work to dissipate negative feelings while small talk can go a long way in diffusing tension and creating empathy. You can also learn a great deal of useful information by asking astute questions and listening carefully for the answers.

Positive Management of Emotions Breeds Respect

When you display your emotions with maturity and understanding, you create an environment of mutual understanding and respect. Applying your emotional intelligence during emotionally charged talks can establish you as a leader worthy of respect.

An emotionally aware negotiator can use emotions to:

  • Successfully manage highly charged situations.
  • Openly express emotions to positively rally others rather than negatively inflame situations.
  • Influence other members from both teams.
  • Easily admit when support is needed, and ask for support without losing face.
  • Motivate those at the bargaining table to work towards a mutually beneficial agreement despite existing differences.
  • Encourage others to keep working calmly even under duress.

Positive Emotions Bring Optimism into the Negotiations

A happy negotiator is more likely to patiently listen through arguments and counter-arguments, then balance the points of view to create a mutually beneficial settlement. Additionally, once trained, your positive emotions are more likely to infect other negotiators and influence others on both sides of the bargaining table to work towards win-win outcomes. Positive emotions create an environment where:

  • Team members want to work with each other towards a positive outcome.
  • Rivals are willing to let go of blame games.
  • Opponents recognize the value of working together for mutual benefit.
  • Leaders feel the urge to inspire their teams to greater outcomes.
  • Members feel more able to forgive each other’s mistakes.
  • Negotiators from all sides are more willing to overcome each others’ limitations for mutually beneficial value creation.
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