It had been a long day. It was almost over.
Working through the details of divorce for a client through mediation was arduous, but we were almost to the end.
Then it happened.
The two parties began fighting over a phone. The husband didn’t have an attorney representing him, and I was representing the wife. As we walked through the property division, they began fighting over who was going to get a phone. Obviously this phone must be an antique or a relic, I thought, or have some significant sentimental value.
When I asked how much the phone was worth, they ashamedly agreed that they had paid about ten dollars for the plastic phone. You got it! No antique, nothing of intrinsic value, just two people who were in their emotions.
No longer could they amicably work through this together with my facilitation, I was going have to step in and negotiate the final terms including the remainder of the property settlement. I had to put my foot down with my client and snap her back into reality that she wasn’t paying me $300.00 plus an hour to fight over a ten-dollar plastic phone.
Although this scenario may seem extreme, it is not uncommon. There is limited room at the negotiation table, and emotions are NOT welcome. So before you enter the room, leave your emotions at the front door. There are definite tools needed at the negotiation table and to insert emotion into the process is not helpful and, in fact, is detrimental to the process.
Emotions cannot be trusted
Emotions are fickle, changing, cold, hot, or lukewarm at any given moment and can therefore not be trusted.
Emotions remind me of a quote by the French born American Author Anais Nin who said, “We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.”
In order to see clearly, we must see past our emotions that are always fighting for stage time. The Disney animated movie, “Inside Out” is a great example of how big our emotions can live in everyday life and how we have to control them.
You must have a plan to control your emotions.
As the clip indicates, you must have a plan to control your emotions. Negotiation should be a result that can be measurable and anticipated based on the tools and techniques used. Emotions ruin the predictability of the process. Many times over the years, clients have been confused about two attorneys’ ability to fight to the death in a courtroom and walk out of the courtroom and have lunch together. No emotions – just business, just negotiation.
As you prepare for your strategy in negotiation, anticipate the opponent’s objections, determine your BATNA, and plan your best moves. Remember to practice in those areas where the emotions of fear, disgust, or anger, may rise up in you.
Practice the points, get your emotions in check by leaving them at the door, enter in, and negotiate; just negotiate.
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CALL TO ACTION:
Reflect this week on instances where you attempted to negotiate or get your point across but allowed emotions to enter into the equation. Think about how it shifted the atmosphere and affected the outcome. Now this week, as you enter into a tough place (one where you may be negotiating something small or large) practice getting your emotions in check. Once in check, walk through the door and negotiate.