Winning Over Negative Emotions: Section Three from Winning In Troubled Times

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Be observant. Is something making you uncomfortable? Are you truly upset about something? Or are you trying to intimidate me? It will also make it difficult for a counterpart to lie to you; evidence suggests that people prefer to tell lies of omission about facts rather than lies of commission about feelings. This may sound manipulative or even unscrupulous, but you can use this influence for good.

For example, if your counterpart seems anxious or angry, injecting humor or empathetic reassurance can dramatically change the tone of the interaction. By the same token, if your counterpart seems overconfident or pushy, expressing well-placed anger can inspire a healthy dose of fear.

Managing Anger

However, unless a team can appropriately utilize the full capacity of its potential, effectiveness can suffer. Feeling happiness at a birthday party may be a great idea. Sense and Sensitivity. Thank you for helping me accept and embrace my emotions! The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response.

For example, imagine that you start crying at work. Crying is a difficult-to-control and often embarrassing behavior. Despite these findings, many people continue to see advantages to feeling or appearing angry. Some even attempt to turn up the volume on their anger, because they think it will make them more effective in a negotiation. In my own research, I have found that given a choice between feeling angry and feeling happy while negotiating, more than half the participants want to be in an angry state and view it as significantly advantageous. There are cases when feeling angry can lead to better outcomes.

Avoiding Anxiety

Research by Gerben van Kleef at the University of Amsterdam demonstrates that in a onetime, transactional negotiation with few opportunities to collaborate to create value, an angry negotiator can wind up with a better deal. There may even be situations in which a negotiator decides to feign anger, because the counterpart, in an attempt to defuse that anger, is likely to give ground on terms.

This might work well if you are haggling with a stranger to buy a car, for example. But negotiators who play this card must be aware of the costs. Showing anger in a negotiation damages the long-term relationship between the parties. It reduces liking and trust. Research by Rachel Campagna at the University of New Hampshire shows that false representations of anger may generate small tactical benefits but also lead to considerable and persistent blowback. That is, faking anger can create authentic feelings of anger, which in turn diminish trust for both parties.

Along the same lines, research by Jeremy Yip and Martin Schweinsberg demonstrates that people who encounter an angry negotiator are more likely to walk away, preferring to let the process end in a stalemate. In many contexts, then, feeling or expressing anger as a negotiating tactic can backfire. So in most cases, tamping down any anger you feel—and limiting the anger you express—is a smarter strategy. This may be hard to do, but there are tactics that can help. Preparation is key to success in negotiations. What are the issues? Use the following questions and tips to plan ahead for each stage of the negotiation.

Building rapport before, during, and after a negotiation can reduce the odds that the other party will become angry. If the other party does become angry, apologize. Seek to soothe. So if tensions are flaring, ask for a break, cool off, and regroup. Resist that urge and give the anger time to dissipate. In heated negotiations, hitting the pause button can be the smartest play. Finally, you might consider reframing anger as sadness. Though reframing one negative emotion as another sounds illogical, shared feelings of sadness can lead to cooperative concession making, whereas oppositional anger often leads to an impasse.

It can be tempting to see negotiations in binary terms—you either win or lose. Of course, that is generally too simplistic: Most complex negotiations will end with each side having achieved some of its goals and not others—a mix of wins and losses. Research shows that one cause of disappointment in a negotiation is the speed of the process. When a negotiation unfolds or concludes too quickly, participants tend to feel dissatisfied. They wonder if they could or should have done more or pushed harder. Negotiation teachers see this in class exercises: Often the first students to finish up are the most disappointed by the outcome.

The obvious way to lessen the likelihood of disappointment is to proceed slowly and deliberately. Regret is slightly different from disappointment. While the latter tends to involve sadness about an outcome, someone feeling regret is looking a little more upstream, at the course of actions that led to this unhappy outcome, and thinking about the missteps or mistakes that created the disappointment.

When a negotiation concludes too quickly, participants tend to feel dissatisfied. Those fears are often misplaced. In fact, people who ask a lot of questions tend to be better liked, and they learn more things. In negotiations, information is king and learning should be a central goal. One way to reduce the potential for regret is to ask questions without hesitation. Aim to come away from the negotiation with the sense that every avenue was explored.

We have terms we can all live with. However, when handled deftly, a post-settlement settlement can open a pathway for both sides to become even more satisfied with the outcome and stave off regrets. Nonetheless, this happens all the time: In workshops I routinely see students unabashedly boast and brag sometimes to the entire class about how they really stuck it to their opponents in a negotiation exercise.

And in certain situations, showing happiness or excitement triggers disappointment in others. The best negotiators achieve great deals for themselves but leave their opponents believing that they, too, did fabulously, even if the truth is different. In my negotiation class, we do an exercise in which students must decide whether or not to send a race car driver into an important race with a faulty engine. Despite the risks, most students opt to go ahead with the race because they are excited and want to maximize their prize winnings.

The exercise has parallels to a real-life example: the launch of the Challenger space shuttle. There are two lessons for negotiators. First, be considerate: Do not let your excitement make your counterparts feel that they lost. Second, be skeptical: Do not let your excitement lead to overconfidence or an escalation of commitment with insufficient data. However, whereas the parties in a negotiation must strive for agreement, poker players make decisions unilaterally.

Nonetheless, negotiators can learn a crucial lesson from the card table: the value of controlling the emotions we feel and especially those we reveal. In other words, good negotiators need to develop a poker face—not one that remains expressionless, always hiding true feelings, but one that displays the right emotions at the right times. And although all human beings experience emotions, the frequency and intensity with which we do so differs from person to person.

To be a better deal maker, conduct a thorough assessment of which emotions you are particularly prone to feel before, during, and after negotiations, and use techniques to minimize or maximize the experience and suppress or emphasize the expression of emotions as needed. Think carefully about when to draw these weapons, when to shoot, and when to keep them safely tucked away in a hidden holster. Try to avoid feeling anxious, be careful about expressing anger, ask questions to circumvent disappointment and regret, and remember that happiness and excitement can have adverse consequences.

Just as you prepare your tactical and strategic moves before a negotiation, you should invest effort in preparing your emotional approach. It will be time well spent.

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She teaches negotiation in the MBA and executive education curricula and is affiliated with the Behavioral Insights Group. Artwork: Jack Sutherland, Vitrine, acrylic on panel, courtesy of saatchiart. Alison Wood Brooks. View more from the December Issue Explore the Archive. Anxiety leads to poor outcomes.

Anger is a double-edged sword. Disappointment can be channeled to reach a more satisfactory outcome. New Findings Research shows that we can regulate the anxiety, anger, excitement, disappointment, or regret we may feel and express in the course of a negotiation—and doing so can help us make better deals.

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Recommendations Be aware of the emotions that negotiators commonly experience and how displays of emotion may be perceived. Should I express my emotions? How might the people across the table feel?

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Winning Over Negative Emotions: Section Three from Winning In Troubled Times eBook: Creflo Dollar: Kindle Store. Winning Over Negative Emotions: Section Three from Winning In Troubled Times . By Creflo A Dollar. Inspirational and family life.

Are they likely to hide or express their emotions? Should I recruit a third party to negotiate on my behalf? Try to avoid expressing anxiety. Expressing forward-looking excitement may help build rapport. In emotionally charged situations such as a divorce , consider having a third party such as a lawyer negotiate on your behalf. The Main Event What things could happen that would make me feel angry? What things might I do that would trigger my counterparts to feel angry? What might they do or ask that would make me feel anxious?

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Be careful about expressing anger; it may extract concessions but harm the long-term relationship. Avoid angering your counterparts; they are likely to walk away. Preparing answers to tough questions is critical for staying calm in the moment. The Finale What are the possible outcomes of the negotiation? What do I hope to achieve? If you fill your mind with uplifting and inspiring information, it will keep you motivated.

Go to the bookstore or library today and find at least one book on a positive topic that will give you a boost. You need constant reminders telling you that you are capable of achievement. Be with positive people as often as possible.

Tips for Teachers: Ways to Help Students Who Struggle with Emotions or Behavior

Negative people and conversations will have you focused on all the wrong things and may take your focus off of your goals. Seek out positive people and don't engage in negative conversations. Instead, choose to remain neutral or just don't participate at all. If you find yourself caught in the middle of a conversation that is going in the wrong direction, change the subject to something productive. Try saying something like, "I am focused on finishing this new project. I'm really excited about it. Speak positive affirmations. Words have a creative force. Regardless of what is going on around you, speak out loud what you want to happen.

Write out an affirmation that you can say daily and put it up somewhere that you are sure to see it every day, like your bathroom mirror or your refrigerator. Learn from your mistakes, instead of repeating them. We all make mistakes; the key is to learn from them and keep on moving. Conduct regular self-evaluations and examine how you handled situations and what you could do differently next time.

Write down possible solutions and outcomes so when you are faced with a problem you can properly think through the best way to handle it. Make a plan. There is a very popular saying: "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. This can spark ideas, improve productivity and ensure a great outcome. Once you have a written agenda, you are immediately going to be motivated to accomplish it. Without one, you have nothing to run with and end up feeling stuck. Write out your to-do list the night before. Identify the three most important things that you must accomplish the next day and start with those first.

Celebrate accomplishments, whether big or small. Always take time out to celebrate. Rewards play a huge part in staying motivated.

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Reward yourself each and every time you reach a goal. It could be anything from throwing a party to taking a weekend away or treating yourself to a movie night. Just don't overlook it. Think about something you have recently accomplished and plan a way to celebrate it within the next 10 days. It can be as simple as going out for ice cream. Reward yourself -- you are worth it! Build a support team. Having the right team in place to help you is crucial to your success. You will be amazed at what you and your team can accomplish when you are all motivated and working toward the same goal.

It is worth the effort to put the right support system in place. Make a list of some winning people in your circle that you can partner with, exchange ideas with and who can help you get things done.

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Rehearse your victories. Oftentimes we forget how far we've come and the successes we've already accomplished. Designate a token of achievement that you can carry with you to remind yourself that you are a winner.

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It doesn't matter if it is big or small. Go back and look at your trophies, certificates, a special note of congratulations or anything that will keep you motivated when you are facing tough life moments. An infectious, positive attitude can shift your entire life. Infusing your mind with positive thoughts will cause you to produce more positive results in your life.