Negotiating Tip #44:
What to Do In the Heat of the Moment
Negotiations can stir you up – fear, anger, and excitement are just a few of the emotions that can really get the adrenaline flowing. That is something you have to learn to expect and to adjust for. Unfortunately, psychological research as shown that we are terrible at predicting how strong emotions affect our behavior – what psychologists call affective forecasting.
We systematically delude ourselves into believing we can handle ourselves logically in almost any situation. In fact, the thinking part of the brain (the neocortex) can be literally swamped by the emotional part (the amygdala). With the thinking part of the brain short-circuited, intelligent people can do remarkably stupid things without having a clue that they are acting stupidly. That is how con artists work their craft; they get their targets into a heightened emotional state they refer to as ether.
Yes, being swamped by emotions without realizing it will happen to members of your negotiating team: it is human nature. Rather than lecturing you “don’t do that,” we at Mobus Creative Negotiating teach you ways to adjust, to protect yourself against yourself. The main defensive mechanism is: slow down, give yourself time to think things over when your emotions have calmed down.
Of course it is tempting to want to finish a negotiation right now, but leave yourself (and the other side) a chance to reflect. We have a whole lot of advice about how to organize that reflecting process, but none of our suggestions matter for very much if you charge ahead when emotions are at their peak.