Don’t Let Emotions Rule You During Important Negotiations

The ability to negotiate well isn’t an easy feat, but one of the most common challenges for people is learning how to take their emotions out of the negotiation. Humans are hardwired to have emotions, as this is what helps us survive. Our emotions are evidence of our beliefs and passion and they also help us to influence and persuade others. Emotions play an important role in our communication with others and therefore shouldn’t be ignored altogether. However, it is important to learn how to control your emotions during a negotiation. Fear, anger, defensiveness, and threats can result if you allow people to push your hot buttons during a negotiation. Developing an awareness of your emotions can help you learn how to manage your emotions rather than just reacting to them. Controlling your emotions can help you achieve your desired outcome, so consider these tips for keeping your emotions in check during the negotiation process.

Mentally Prepare Ahead of Time
Prior to the negotiation, consider what could possibly happen that would trigger your emotions, What would make you feel angry, irritated, or frustrated? Consider what you could do to help maintain emotional control in this situation. Have a plan in place so you know what steps to take if you begin to feel emotional during the negotiation. Once you know your emotional triggers, practice with a friend and get them to engage in behaviors that are likely to cause a reaction. Then, practice responding in a cool, calm, and collected manner.

Be Aware of Your Emotions
In order to control your emotions, you must first learn how to recognize them. It is important to develop an awareness of early signs of emotional distress. For example, do you find that your breathing gets shorter? Do your muscles tighten up? Do you begin talking louder or faster? Does your body begin to feel hot? Pay attention to the way your body responds to emotional triggers so you can react accordingly.

Take a Break if Needed
The best way to control your emotions during a negotiation is to avoid reacting immediately. Buy yourself some time by hitting the pause button. Take breaks when you begin to feel angry or uncomfortable. You can take a trip to the bathroom, step outside for fresh air, or grab a cup of coffee. This physical break will give your body a chance to calm down and you can take a few minutes to gather your thoughts.

Give Yourself Time
Oftentimes our emotions run rampant when we feel pressured to make a decision. You avoid emotional breakdowns by giving yourself time and avoiding the pressure to make quick decisions. Whenever possible, give yourself time to sleep on things before making a decision.

Set Goals for Yourself
Once you learn what triggers your emotions, set specific goals for how you are going to manage conflict and your emotions. Anticipate the issues and behaviors that are likely to cause strong emotion and develop a plan for dealing with it. Write down your goals and go over them several times before you begin the negotiation. You can also take them with you as a reminder in case you find yourself getting emotional during the conversation.