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The Importance of Putting Feelings First in Negotiations


"A legendary hostage negotiator put feelings first ...Feelings can cloud our judgment." IMAGINE THAT!"The very good negotiators, I think, are the ones with the life stories," he concluded." SURPRISE!An "empathetic negotiating style" enables tapping into another's "life experiences." WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT?You should "deal with emotions first [in order] to gradually defuse them." SHOCKING, NO?"The best negotiation courses promote rational decision making but also acknowledge the need to deal with emotions." SAY IT ISN'T SO!"Active listening" / empathic listening is essential. HOW PROFOUND!"You can build trust in your negotiations by making concessions that are easy to give but valuable for the other party to receive." OF COURSE, THIS REQUIRES "listening closely" TO "gain a better understanding of the underlying motives of the other party."IN ALL SERIOUSNESS, I HAVE BEEN SAYING THESE THINGS FOR A LONG TIME AND THEY REQUIRE A HIGH LEVEL OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE. SADLY, LAWYERS TEND TO HAVE VERY LOW EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE LEVELS AND PEOPLE TEND TO HIRE LAWYERS TO NEGOTIATE ON THEIR BEHALF.Just last week, a divorced friend of mine was telling me that the divorce judgment didn't provide for the payment of their child's college tuition and related expenses. This is not unusual because parents are only legally obligated to support their children, until they reach the age of majority (unless a jurisdiction has different laws).My friend wanted to know whether the other parent would be providing any such financial assistance to their child and to what degree, if any.A close friend of theirs strongly advised that a lawyer be retained to address this issue.Fortunately, my friend knew better than to get lawyers involved in such negotiations. You see, lawyers tend to operate on the basis of coercion. Since the other parent had no legal obligation, coercive efforts would have been counter-productive.In fact, coercive negotiation has nothing to do with emotional intelligence and tends to exacerbate emotional conflict and increase the distrust in order to resolve legal disputes. Bear in mind that if there are no legal disputes, such negotiation style only serves to exacerbate the level of emotions.The following idiom is very true: "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar." Unfortunately, when you lack emotional intelligence, you wouldn't be able to comprehend such things.WHEN WILL PEOPLE LEARN? 

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