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Negotiation Tactics 101: Start With Emotion

Learn how to use emotion for successful negotiations.

By
Stever Robbins
October 22, 2012
Episode #185

Page 2 of 2

Choose the Emotional Payment to Fit the Negotiation

Emotional payments are often simple, though we may struggle. We may need to apologize for something we've been obstinate about. Or perhaps just offer a kind word and some empathy.

One way to find empathy and love with your negotiating partner is, of course, to find a common enemy to hate.

For example: Your flight is delayed. You and 1,319 other stranded travelers—your competition for the 3 standby slots—are standing in line for the one exhausted-looking gate agent to get your flight rebooked. Open your discussion with the gate agent by using empathy. "You look exhausted! It must be quite a trial dealing with 1,319 disgruntled passengers."

Now that you have a common enemy, make an emotional payment. Offer the gate agent some water. You treat her like a human being (graciously overlooking the fact that she has 3 heads, two of which spit fire), sympathize, and unite against those other passengers who are making both your lives miserable. After being yelled at, degraded, abused, and frazzled by everyone else, your interaction might be such a breath of fresh air that she offers you a seat on the last commuter flight to your destination before the blizzard hits.

Be Ethical

Only make emotional payments from a place of sincerity. Otherwise, you're offering emotional connection simply as a way of using the other person. First, that's just plain tacky (Modern Manners Guy would definitely agree). Second, if you get a reputation for insincerity, your future negotiations will be stymied by a lack of trust.

Of course, you could be one of the “lucky” 10% of the population who's sociopathic and untroubled by matters of conscience. In that case, it's still in your best interest to form genuine emotional attachments. If they care about you, they just might take care of you in your old age.

This Works Everywhere

You can start making emotional payments today. Look to your disgruntled co-workers and find a way to gruntle them. If your sweetie is acting sour, it's time for a surprise dinner out. When the person at the Department of Motor Vehicles is driving you nuts, compliment their shirt and make them feel good. Just remember, you want to start with emotion: put yourself in their shoes, find a common enemy, empathize, and make emotional payments.

For information about my coaching, workshops, and products, visit SteverRobbins.com.

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