Choosing the Right Environment for Negotiations

How much thought do you put into creating the right atmosphere for a negotiation? The Public Speaker explains how the best choices can have a psychological and emotional impact.  

Lisa B. Marshall
5-minute read
Episode #260

Take a Seat

Finally, I asked about seating arrangements. I thought Lobel's point was interesting: she told me that the seating arrangements should depend on what kind of argument you will be making.

If you are making an emotional appeal, she suggests sitting closer together, to create a closer emotional connection with your opponent. However, if your appeal is going to be more logical, she suggests sitting further apart. The more distance apart, the less the connection there would be--and the more likely your opponent will not react emotionally.

Dr. Lobel didn’t say anything about the location of the negotiation, but I once read advice on that topic from mediator Barbara Madonik. in her book, I Hear What You Say, But What are Your Telling Me?  Madonik suggests a choosing a neutral location, or one that nicely accommodates both parties and is free from distractions. Madonik also recommends using a round table to reduce the distance between the parties, and between any mediators. She also suggests choosing comfortable, adjustable chairs that allow the participants to easily reach the writing surface.

Interestingly, all of Madonik's suggestions seem to be in line with the advice from Dr. Lobel. However, Madonik  also recommends a few more specific details, like taking into consideration the amount of light in the room, the color of the walls, the background music, and the temperature, as well as making sure that there are separate private areas for teams from opposing sides to meet, and  that any possible dietary restrictions are addressed.

When you are about to enter into negotiations, it is important to carefully choose or create a physical environment that shows thoughtful consideration on your part, and supports quality decision-making.  Let me know in the comments how you are going to adjust your environment for your very next negotiation!

This is Lisa B. Marshall, Helping you maximize sales, manage perceptions, and enhance leadership through keynotes, workshops, books, and online courses. Passionate about communication; your success is my business. If you want even more success in your life, I invite you to listen to my other podcast, Smart Talk:  Inspiring Conversations with Exceptional People.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            



About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.

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