Unless you are a professional negotiator you may not enjoy this aspect of doing business. Many of us avoid negotiating because we don’t like confrontation, we are uncomfortable advocating for ourselves and/or we don’t want to lose.
Whether we are negotiating with a business partner or a family member, emotions can get the best of us. The author of this Harvard Business Review article Emotion & the Art of Negotiation says, “Bringing anger to a negotiation is like throwing a bomb into the process.”
One way to reduce negative emotions even in the most contentious negotiation is an exercise called “Just Like Me,” which asks us to consider:
- This person has beliefs, perspectives and opinions, just like me.
- This person has hopes, anxieties and vulnerabilities, just like me.
- This person has friends, family and perhaps children who love them, just like me.
- This person wants to feel respected, appreciated and competent, just like me.
- This person wishes for peace, joy and happiness, just like me.
- Because this person is a human being, just like me.
I invite you to try making these statements out loud. Then notice how you feel about the person on the other side of the negotiating table and envision how the outcome might change.