- On January 5, 2016
Does the word “Negotiation” put a knot in your stomach?
Turns out 39% of professionals in the U.S. feel uncomfortable with negotiations, according to a 2012 LinkedIn Survey of global professionals.
Are you one of those who would consider a visit to the dentist more enjoyable than negotiating for something you really want? [No offense to the valuable work of dentists, but a recent Delta Dental survey indicated 48% of parents express anxiety about going to the dentist.]
The definition of Negotiation is tame: a “mutual discussion and arrangement of the terms of a transaction or agreement” Sounds easy and unthreatening, right?
Negotiation is something we engage in every day. From convincing your mountain-loving spouse to buy-in to your beach villa dream for this year’s vacation… to buying a new car… to adding someone with special skills to your project team… to convincing a new employer of the value of your expertise… to brokering a multi-million dollar merger with a rival company.
Your negotiation savvy can be enhanced with good Emotional Intelligence. Here are 5 EQ competencies to polish up that will improve your negotiation presence:
- Empathy,the ability to deeply listen and understand where another is coming from, whether you agree with them or not. Knowing the other’s perspective can help you determine what looks like a win-win from their side.
- Emotional Self-Awareness/Expression, the ability to be acutely aware of your feelings about the issue at hand, the parties involved, and the outcome, and how displays of emotion can be perceived in a positive or negative light. Displays of anxiety, for example, can weaken your bargaining position or tempt you to close the conversation too early. Just as important, the presence of mind to identify the emotional triggers around the issue that may arise for you and being prepared to recognize and deal with them.
- Assertiveness, the ability to effectively express feelings & beliefs, and stand up for your personal rights even when faced with opposition. Believing that your side/point of view/needs matters and effectively presenting your case. This is not aggression or bullying which only serves to alienate the other party and stir up a defensive reaction, making it harder to develop a solution all will agree to.
- Flexibility, the ability to be agile, tolerant, and react to change. Negotiation by its nature, is meant to be a give and take. Those with flexibility and adept at assessing and responding to the shifting feedback they get from their environment. If you approach negotiation with no wiggle room it is likely you will not get an outcome you can live with.
- Reality Testing, the ability to see things objectively, rather than how we fear or wish them to be.Those with a high reality testing competence are skilled at assessing the environment with an objective lens, keeping their focus on the main issue, and recognizing that all parties view a situation with their own perspective, colored by their experiences and prejudices. Reality testing in negotiation helps balance the ‘head swirl’ of negative emotions which seed doubt and anxiety against the ‘rose-colored glasses’ naiveté that everyone sees things our way.
Harvard Business Review devoted the “spotlight” in the December 2015 issue to the ‘softer side of negotiation,’ including this article on Emotion and the Art of Negotiation . Well worth a read!
Finally, if you are in the DC Metro area, join us on Jan 21st, 2016 when Leslie Mulligan, negotiation consultant at Watershed Associates, presents a special workshop on Getting What You Want: Negotiation Skills for Women for the Women in Technology professional organization of the DC Metro area. For more info and to register: http://bit.ly/1mvWYn2
Photo credit: Shutterstock309942113 I Pressmaster