Don't Ignore Emotions!


Don’t ignore emotions - Emotions are an integral part of the human experience!

Think about the last time you approached a negotiation. What were some of the feelings you had? Hope, Fear, Enthusiasm, Trepidation, Indifferent, Empathetic? Most likely these and many more especially during the course of a drawn out and complicated negotiation. Simply approaching problems from logical frameworks and rational perspectives is not enough. Certainly, you should continue to apply your cognitive skills to both the preparation and implementation of your Negotiation Strategy, but failing to take into account the emotional component of a given Negotiation will leave a gaping hole in your strategy and may cause you to miss out on possible points of leverage that may only exist because of their emotional component.

In addition to the needs being addressed directly by the negotiation you are engaging in, people have emotional needs that they are consciously or unconsciously striving to meet such as status, notoriety and belonging.

In their book, Negotiation Genius, Deepak Malhotra and Max Bazerman devote several insightful chapters to the opportunities and pitfalls of leveraging emotions while Negotiating.



One of the most important concepts to understand when negotiating contracts is LEVERAGE. At the Studio we strive to drive home the importance of LEVERAGE, ways you can develop leverage, and how your behaviors affect your leverage.

The whole point of having leverage is to be able to obtain your goal, your NEED. So the first step is to identify the object of your leveraging. Think about this as your NEED rock. It's big, it's heavy and you can't move it without some help!

Next up, think about ways you can develop leverage. Every situation is unique, but there are often ways to increase your own leverage or decrease the leverage of the other side. For a great discussion of ways to do this, read Roger Volkema's book - Leverage. The primary point here is to avoid tunnel vision when negotiating a deal. What are your options? Are there competitors that you could go to instead of the person/company you are negotiating with? Could you alter the scope of the deal/project to create alternatives?

Finally, the way you act often speaks volumes about you and your needs in a negotiation. If you act "needy" the other side will sense this - they will believe that you believe that you need them more than they need you. This is often played out in subtle ways: Drafting Control, Individuals Involved, Willingness to Travel, etc. Always ensure that you are meeting the other side half-way instead of bending over backward to please them and meet their schedules.

Always keep LEVERAGE in mind. It's almost never too late to consider how to develop leverage and to consider how to change your behaviors to give you more leverage!

Making Personal Connections


Even in the most simple negotiation, personal ties between two negotiators can be crucial! I had an experience recently that reminded me of the power of making personal connections.

I was out on a Saturday afternoon running some errands and stopped for a coffee. I fully planned on getting a normal coffee with some cream and sugar, but I saw some iced coffee treat that sounded good on a hot summer afternoon. The barista immediately latched on to my interest and took the extra few minutes to explain why that was the only coffee for me. He even went so far as to ask about some flavor preferences and helped me get something I was really pleased with.

Sounds like no big deal, right? It's just a coffee, right? Well, I was so happy with what I got, I visited another location and asked for the same thing. All I got were blank stares from the less than enthusiastic staff of baristas at this location. I finally explained it to them and despite the eye-rolls and sighing, I got what I wanted, but it was a lot more painful. Needless to say, I will probably just be ordering my regular coffee unless I find myself faced with the barista who took a few moments to connect with me on a personal level.

Now for the payoff - simply by talking me through the process, the barista was able to get me to buy something from him roughly twice as expensive as the coffee I had planned on getting. Granted, the difference between $2 and $4 isn't all that much, but say your negotiation is more complex and infinitely more money is on the line? The personal connections you are able to forge throughout your negotiation will help you maximize the value in the deal and will help prevent the inevitable "Us v. Them" mentality that often seizes many negotiators.

For some ideas on how to reach out to your negotiation partners, check out these two great books: Beyond Reason, by Roger Fisher & Daniel Shapiro and How To Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie.