A recent CNN article about managing negative emotions in the workplace points out that in tough times, keeping your cool is essential.
The same typically holds true in the negotiation context. Tempers often flair in high-stakes negotiations and this can lead to an out-of-control emotional escalation among those involved. Here are some suggestions for dealing with anger, hostility, fear and other potentially detrimental emotions.
1. Don’t respond in kind.
Keep your composure, stay silent and let your counterpart vent. Or take a break to give everyone time to cool off. As Thomas Jefferson said, “When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, an hundred.”
2. Put yourself in their shoes.
Be empathetic to your counterpart’s concerns. Find out what’s really going on by actively listening and asking open-ended questions like “why” or “tell me about.” Don’t interrupt and, when appropriate, acknowledge the legitimacy of their points and feelings.
3. Rely on independent standards.
If it’s your opinion versus theirs, your counterpart may become emotionally vested in their position. Instead, rely on objective standards like an independent expert’s opinion, market value or precedent to depersonalize the situation.