Emotions and Value Creation.
Emotions are prevalent in every negotiation setting, whether or not the parties use a mediator to help facilitate the process. Learning how to identify our emotions and our negotiating counterparts’ emotions, how to categorize the emotions, and how to strategically use these emotions can give you an advantage during the negotiation process and help you create value for yourself and your counter-part. Generally, emotions can be broadly categorized as either positive or negative. Positive emotions include feelings that serve you well, including happiness, laughter, joyfulness, excitement, hopefulness, etc.
Negative emotions include feelings that can can serve you well at times but often does not, including anger, anxiety, fear, etc… Before you engage in any negotiation, you should take time to assess your own emotions and what you know about the emotions of your negotiation counterparts. To assess your own emotions, ask yourself questions which force you to think about how you have reacted to questions, scenarios, and experiences in the past. For example: How do I behave under pressure? What do I feel when X happens? How do I react to Y? To assess your counterparts’ emotions, ask similar questions to people who have interacted with them in the past, including the receptionist at their firm, their secretary, co-workers, prior customers, etc.
If you do not have access to anyone who has interacted with them in the past, call them and test their emotions with trigger questions or scenarios. With this information in hand, prepare for your negotiation by envisioning varying scenarios during the negotiation process, and plan how you will use your emotions to your advantage and how you can trigger the required emotions from your negotiation counterparts. For example, at the beginning of the negotiation, you may decide to be warm and friendly to catalyze positive emotions in yourself and your negotiation counterparts, as it will be natural for them to mirror your emotions. Since value creation usually occurs early on in the negotiation process, this technique can set the stage for value creation early. At the later stages of the negotiation process, consider using a negative emotion as a strategy to help you claim more value, as negotiators tend to give more concessions to parties who express anger, even if not genuine.
Finally, throughout the negotiation process look for signs of how your negotiation counterparts use their emotions. Are they being as strategic as you, or are they unable to understand and control their emotions? If the latter is true, all you have to do is identify what triggers their positive and negative emotions and strategically trigger these emotions to get the results you desire. If you trigger positive emotions, stroke these emotions in a manner that encourages them to see the commonality of their needs and interests to your needs and interest and encourage them to help you meet your needs and further your interests, which will help them in the long run. If you trigger negative emotions, demonstrate your understanding of their concerns and feel their pain by empathizing with them, when appropriate, and show them how they can help meet their need and further their interests by helping you meet your needs and helping you further your interests.