Keeping a cool head isn’t easy sometimes. In fact, it is, as they say, easier said than done.
The reality is that we all are subject to uncontrolled emotional outbursts even though we try to keep things under control. Even telling yourself to remain cool in a negotiation can concur up your subconscious mind to focus on the very thing you are trying to control. if you are feeling emotional it is really hard to not express the emotion.
We know that positive emotions can be a powerful tool to be used by the smart negotiator. Negotiators pick up on their counterpart’s emotional mindset. A positive mood can be contagious. “We are so close.” “It looks like we are making real progress.” Expressions like those can create a synchronization with your counterpart. Likewise negative emotions or the proverbial “poker-face” can cause the other side to retreat into a negative emotional state.
Since we know emotions are contagious, remember that positive emotions promote a collaborative spirit. A collaborative approach to a problem can result in creative, integrative negotiations.
But if you are experiencing negative emotions remember that an early on display of anger or frustration can often be construed by the other side as a tactical attempt to intimidate or extract a concession. In other words, if you are going to let your negative emotions go on display make sure that you are credible.
And remember the “Yes-No-Yes” sandwich that I have spoken about in earlier Journals. Ending a negotiation on a light note, a positive emotion, a light hearted joke or a nonsensical concession can result in higher acceptance rates by the other side. And of course, rubbing the other side’s face in the agreement will likely result in lesser acceptance by the other side.