“Never decry someone’s negative emotions too vigorously. To do so could position you as the source of that negativity.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (click to Tweet)
“How To Overcome Negative Emotions In A Negotiation”
People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.
How do you deal with a negotiator displaying negative emotions in a negotiation? Do you become intimidated, reserved about exerting your negotiation position? The way someone comports themselves speaks voluminously about their respect, or lack of, for the process they’re engaging.
Negotiating with someone expressing negative emotions can be daunting. For one, you may not know the degree that their feelings are real versus contrived. For another, you may become daunted by the wonderment of assessing how long such behavior might last. During that time, you may be unsure how to continue the negotiation, which could work against you. The following are ways to address such situations.
Forms Of Negative Emotions
Negative emotions shown through indifference can appear in the form of:
a.) Being unreasonable in the acceptance of facts
b.) Contriving stories or positions, devoid of reality
c.) Constant interruptions
a.) Displaying body language signs of aggressiveness
b.) Using foul language
c.) Speaking overly loud/shouting
When you experience this behavior, note when it first occurred and question if it’s part of a ploy to move you emotionally. If you sense that’s not the case, address each negative emotion occurrence by asking the other negotiator why she’s displaying them (e.g., why are you using foul language? Why do you continue to interrupt me?). Pause and question her to bring self-awareness to her actions. She may not be aware that she’s projecting that persona. Once awareness occurs, she may alter her behavior. And that would be a better environment in which to continue the negotiation.
Thoughts For Consideration
1. Motivating Source Of Behavior
In some situations, a negotiator may be experiencing angst due to what they’re negotiating. In essence, they may feel they’re in over their head. To compensate for that feeling, they may be exhibiting negative emotions. Always attempt to understand a negotiator’s source of motivation in every negotiation. From that understanding will come insight from which to deal with that person.
2. Body Language Synchronization
a.) Always note the timing of someone’s words compared to their actions. Their actions should precede their words slightly. If you note that not to be the case, the person may be faking their emotions.
b.) Consider speaking in a calmer tone than your counterpart. Your demeanor may have a calming effect on her.
3. Social Media
Sometimes, a person will display negative emotions through ill acts via social media. If that’s the case, and you feel they overstep the platform’s guidelines, attempt to get them banned from that platform. Once you’re able to deprive them of their most potent weapon, you’ll weaken a person’s ability to attack you. And that will decrease the velocity of their negative emotions.
Attempt to use logic and reasoning to pry a negotiator from their negative emotions in some cases. Your opposition’s receptiveness will determine your efforts’ fortunes. But if she’s not open to reason or logic, she’ll view your actions as being whimsical at best and contriving at worse. Be prepared to address either scenario.
Some negotiators may be hellbent on sticking to the negative points of their emotions. They may be so entrenched that no logic or reasoning on your behalf will persuade them to alter their demeanor. If you discover you’re dealing with that individual type, attempt to negotiate with a different person. You may also conclude the negotiation by agreeing that you can’t come upon a path to move forward. In essence, you’d be employing the negotiation tactic known as the takeaway. That might prompt the other negotiator to drop her negative emotional behavior.
Overcoming Negative Emotions
1. First, don’t let the other negotiator draw you into adverse emotional reactions. If she’s not faking her emotions, your negative responses may escalate the negotiation’s negativity.
2. Ask probing questions in an attempt to understand the other negotiator’s point of view. Questions such as, are you angry or irritated, may return the response, I’m neither. From there, you might respond with; I sense negative emotions coming from you. Am I right? The point of this type of questioning is to get your counterpart to open her self-perspective per her actions and how you perceive them. The hope is, she’ll alter them once she’s made aware and to the degree that she cares about your feelings in the negotiation.
There will be times when the opposing negotiator is not targeting her negative emotions at you. Her sentiments will stem from previous negotiations she’d been in with others. If this is the case in your situation, and you can bring this point to light, you may convince her to drop her negative ways.
The one aspect to keep in mind is when negative emotions reside in a negotiation, and they’re allowed throughout the process, the negotiation will most likely end badly. Therefore, when you sense that negative emotions are attempting to wreck your negotiation, you must address its cause while not falling prey to the negativity. You can do that by recalling and using the information cited. Doing so will help the negotiation have a better outcome. And everything will be right in the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!
Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://c-suitenetwork.com/radio/shows/greg-williams-the-master-negotiator-and-body-language-expert-podcast/
After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com
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