Emotion and the Art of Negotiation

Feelings can influence the way people overcome conflict, reach agreement, and create value when dealing with another party.  Over the past decade, researchers have begun examining how specific emotions—anger, sadness, disappointment, anxiety, envy, excitement, and regret—can affect the behavior of negotiators. They’ve studied the differences between what happens when people simply feel these emotions and what happens when they also express them to the other party through words or actions. In negotiations that are less transactional and involve parties in long-term relationships, understanding the role of emotions is even more important than it is in transactional deal making.

Avoiding Anxiety.

Managing Anger.

Handling Disappointment and Regret.

Tempering Happiness and Excitement.

A scene from the TV show 30 Rock, the hard-driving CEO Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin), who fancies himself an expert negotiator, explains to a colleague why he struck a poor deal: “I lost because of emotion, which I always thought was a weakness, but now I have learned can also be a weapon.” Borrowing Jack’s insightful metaphor, I urge you to wield your emotions thoughtfully. Think carefully about when to draw these weapons, when to shoot, and when to keep them safely tucked away in a hidden holster. Try to avoid feeling anxious, be careful about expressing anger, ask questions to circumvent disappointment and regret, and remember that happiness and excitement can have adverse consequences.Just as you prepare your tactical and strategic moves before a negotiation, you should invest effort in preparing your emotional approach. It will be time well spent.  Read the full article by Alison Wood Brooks at Harvard Business Review.