Many times we enter negotiation with detailed plans, strategies, positions and a BATNA, but, sometimes, we forget that people on the other side have goals, objectives, needs, wants and strategies, too. When both sides are passionate about meeting their objectives, emotions, planned and unplanned, become part of the interaction. When dealing with emotion in negotiation, the one thing that that works for me is to be tough on the problem and soft on the people.
I have participated and observed several thousand negotiators across the globe and have found there are four skills separating the effective negotiators from poor negotiators:
- Listening. Effective negotiators do more listening than talking.
- Questioning. Question effectively and use questions to your advantage.
- Communicating. Be clear, unambiguous and to the point.
- Relationship. Separate the problem from the people
Effective negotiators learn how to recognize and deal with emotional people, challenging tactics and maintaining focus on the key issues.
Dealing with emotional opponents can be challenging, but here are 5 tips for managing emotional players in negotiations.
- Anger – find out why they are angry
- Insulted – address the feeling and move on to key issues
- Guilt – move away from the guilt and focus on the key issues
- Exasperation – empathize and understand
- False flattery – refocus the discussion
It’s important that you do not make substantive concessions in hope of deescalating the tension or sustaining the relationship. Always focus your points on the fact that you want an agreement that is fair to all parties. Avoid assigning blame or pointing out deficiencies and help them save face, it’s essential that you build and sustain trust by always separating people from the problem.
How do you diffuse emotion in negotiation?