Executive Negotiation Seminars: Emotions in Negotiation

Executive Negotiation Seminars Emotions in Negotiation

I've recently been reading "Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate" by Roger Fisher, coauthor of the bestselling "Getting To Yes" and Daniel Shapiro, associate director , Harvard Negotiation Project. It is an interesting book with some valuable explanations of how we can channel emotions by respecting five concerns which enable negotiation seminars to reach mutually beneficial results.

The book is based on the premise that we negotiate daily and we have emotions all the time. Since we cannot eliminate emotions, "Beyond Reason" offers a strategy to generate positive emotions and to deal with negative ones. The book builds upon "Getting to Yes" which was coauthored by Fisher and is considered a foundation for interest-based negotiation seminars, a process that suggests that negotiators obtain the best results by understanding each other's interests and working together to produce an agreement that will meet those interests as best they can.

Emotions will have an impact on negotiation seminars, whether we acknowledge them or not. Rather than dealing with each and every emotion that we have, and that our opponents are feeling, "Beyond Reason" presents a strategy where you turn your attention to what generates these emotions.

According to the authors, "Core concerns are human wants that are important to almost everyone in virtually all negotiation seminars. They are often unspoken but are no less real than our tangible interests. Even experienced negotiators are often unaware of the many ways in which these concerns motivate their decisions."

The five core concerns that stimulate many emotions during negotiation seminars are appreciation, affiliation, autonomy, status, and role. By dealing effectively with these concerns, you can stimulate positive emotions. The five concerns are not distinct from one another, but merge together with each contributing toward the stimulation of emotions.

Therefore, each concern must be met to the appropriate extent, which will be different in negotiation seminars. These concerns can be used to understand the emotional experience of each party as well as a lever to stimulate positive emotions in parties. Let’s briefly look at each concern, emotions that arise from each concern, and what people are prone to do once those emotions arise.

Negotiators often assume that the best way to negotiate is purely rational. Hostile emotions easily escalate and cause problems. However, according to Jamil Mahuad, Former President of Ecuador, emotions can be helpful. In 1998, a fifty-year boundary dispute between Ecuador and Peru ended through the successful negotiation seminars between Jamil Mahuad, president of Ecuador (1998-2000), and Alberto Fujimori, president of Peru (1990-2000).

President Mahuad took two negotiation seminars at Harvard with Fisher and a seminar with both Fisher and Shapiro regarding the core concerns outlined above.

He contributed to "Beyond Reason" by sharing his creative use of the negotiation seminars to resolve the Peru-Ecuador border dispute.

During your next negotiation, determine how you can meet these core concerns in others as well as in yourself. Express appreciation. Build a sense of affiliation. Respect each person's autonomy and status. Help shape roles to be fulfilling. According to Fisher and Shapiro, doing this will turn negotiation seminars from a stressful, worrisome interaction into a side-by-side dialogue where each of you listens, learns, and respects the other. This undoubtedly will improve your outcome. If these concerns can help the presidents of two countries resolve a fifty-year dispute, they just might help you negotiate successfully as well.