Staying Calm During Negotiation at Work

Staying Calm During Negotiation at Work

Staying Calm During Negotiation at Work 1920 811 The Conscious Professional

During a negotiation, it would be wise not to take anything personally. If you leave personalities out of it, you will be able to see opportunities more objectively.” – Brian Koslow

Unless the only person you work with is you, then it is almost a certainty that your work will, at some point, involve negotiations and compromise. These situations come in a plethora of flavours of intensity, from a relatively low-level daily compromise about who between you and your colleague does what task, or who gets to take their lunch first… all the way to high-level negotiations involving a board room, a lot of severe people in granite grey suits, and a fair bit of company money!

It’s generally not too tricky to stay calm during your weekly working out of whose turn it is to buy the office tea bags (I hope). However, intense negotiations can be very hard to handle in a way that has you feeling calm throughout, and with an intact sense of wellbeing at the end.

Working out how to keep your cool in hardcore negotiation situations is not only good for your own emotional resilience, but it also helps you to bargain in a conscious and clear-sighted way, which should lead to more beneficial results in the long run.

So, here are a few thoughts on how to stay calm during negotiations at work…

1. Detach Yourself

This does not mean ‘stop listening’ or ‘disengage from the matter at hand’. What I’m getting at is that negotiations, when on a business matter, are not personal. If the situation gets heated, try to remind yourself that the situation is nothing to do with your personality or fundamentally who you are. When acting as a negotiator, you are doing so as a representative for your company. So, try to think of yourself as the business, not as you in these moments.

2. Have a Plan, But Plan to Improvise

Get comfortable with the fact that negotiations rarely go 100% the way that you are hoping. You should absolutely have a plan, and a desired route and outcome. But you must also be prepared for curve balls, and the possibility that, even if you have contingencies, you still might end up going down an unknown road. Expect the unexpected ted so that the unexpected doesn’t creep up on you and make you jump!

3. Breathe and Focus

If you come to a point where you can feel that you are losing control of things; if your line of bargaining is feeling wayward or desperate or if you feel like things are going too quickly for you to keep up… breathe. Focus on something physical. Breathe. Gather your thoughts. Get the world to slow down for a second. You might even be able to excuse yourself from the room for a few moments. Do not let these instances overwhelm you. Not only will this result in poor results, but you will come out of the negotiation with your wellbeing haven taking a battering, and feeling like you could have done better.

4. Know Your Signs

In order to recognise when you need to stop, focus, and breathe, it helps to know your own signals. Perhaps your heart rate goes way up. Maybe you sweat or go red. Maybe you stop being able to string a sentence together properly. Once you know the early signs of a negotiation getting too much for you, you can stop your stress levels from rising way before they become a problem. This will help you to stay in your calm zone.

5. Take Time

Give the other party space to speak. Let them air their grievances and make their points whilst resisting the urge to interrupt or pick them up every time they do something to which you may wish to respond. Giving your conscious listening ear to another party, and not irritating them by cutting into their trains of thought will help to stimulate a smoother, slower, calmer proceeding.


By Chris Thomson

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