Dispute Resolution

Effective Negotiation with Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions. There are five elements of emotional intelligence to use during negotiation. They have been provided below.

1. Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is one of the most crucial skills. Becoming self-aware takes conscious and constant effort. The average person experiences emotion 90 percent of the time. Most of us don’t make an effort to bring our emotional experience into our conscious behavior. Regardless of whether or not we acknowledge our emotions, they tend to come in between the negotiation. Our emotions tend to affect our behavior, limit our abilities, and hinder our decision-making. Emotions play a major role in our decisions without us being aware. Research has shown that sadness tens to make us more impatient and anger increases our desire for reward. However, it does not imply that emotions should be ignored. Our emotions are an invaluable source of power if we learn to use them productively.

Self-awareness involves identifying your emotions at the moment and understanding the effect those emotions are having on the people around you. Labeling your own negative emotions silently during negotiation can help you in recentering your claims. If you’re aware of your emotions, it becomes easier to understand how the other person may react. Thus, you can adjust your communication style accordingly.

2. Self-Regulation

The next step is to improve your emotional quotient. To become a more effective negotiator you need to hone your self-regulation skills. For instance, knowing that you are angry, you are not using the awareness to control your behavior then such awareness is of no use. Self-regulation consists of three elements:

  • consciously controlling your emotions
  • resisting emotionally-driven impulses
  • redirecting your attention to focus on the desired goal

While practicing self-awareness and self-regulation you must maintain an open attitude. During negotiation, you must direct your focus to understand the cause of the other party’s emotions.

3. Internal Motivation

External motivation focuses on recognition, money, and rewards. Contrary to external motivation, internal motivation focuses on the values and passions that drive us to better ourselves. Internal motivation drives people to pursue personal growth opportunities. Such people are completely involved in an activity and are at an ease in controlling emotions. Moreover, negotiations are mainly focused on achieving external rewards. But internal motivation plays an important role as well. Effective negotiation can only take place when there is internal motivation.

You need to practice negotiation and set small goals. This may be outside your comfort zone but it will help to embrace the personal journey. In addition, internally motivated people tend to view failures as learning opportunities and make an effort to build upon what they learn in each experience.

4. Empathy

Empathy refers to the ability to understand another person’s perspective and emotions and respond in a way that demonstrates that understanding. This demonstration of understanding is the basis of effective communication and the foundation for trust, connection, and likeability. It is also empowering. If you are in a position to identify the reason behind someone’s action, then you’re more equipped to influence behavior in a natural and lasting way. Empathy coupled with self-awareness and self-regulation equals tactical empathy. Tactical empathy is one of the most powerful negotiation strategies.

5. Social Skills

Social skills are the skills we use to communicate and interact with each other, both verbally and non-verbally, through gestures, body language, and our personal appearance. To have an effective negotiation, you need to understand the other person’s emotions and use that to monitor your behavior. Thus, social skills are essential in understanding the other person’s perspective and placing your perspective in a correct manner. In a negotiation, social skills can help you draw insight from your environment, ease tension, pick up on other nonverbal cues, and add humor. Fitting humor can help you in effective negotiation.

As you work to improve your emotional intelligence skills, remember that it will be stressful initially. Trying something for the first time will make you feel stressed. However, you should try to improve your emotional intelligence skills as it will help in building the foundation to work from scratch. There are various opportunities to improve your skillset to become an effective negotiator. Remember that low-stakes practice makes for high-stakes success.

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by Sushree Swagatika

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