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A critical element in successful negotiations is emotional intelligence. But what is emotional intelligence and how can we use this key skill to ensure successful negotiations?
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
In Daniel Goleman’s 1995 book Emotional Intelligence, he describes how this skill can be divided into two parts. Further, he asserts that in order to have a successful business deal you need to have self-awareness as well as self-control with your emotions.
What Are Emotions?
An emotion is a mental reaction such as anger or happiness. When you have an emotion, you experience a feeling that is connected to a thought.
Generally speaking, our emotions are usually directed toward a specific object or person. Moreover, they are typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body.
With self-awareness we gain the ability to read our own emotions. What’s more, we begin to recognize the role that those feelings play in our decision-making. As we grow in self-awareness, we begin to gain self-control. This is the ability to manage our emotions and impulses and to adapt to changing circumstances.
Emotional Intelligence Teaches You to Manage Your Emotions
Emotions play a vital role when we’re in search of a resolution. When we have not yet learned to manage our emotions, we find it harder to come to a peaceful resolution.
A good place to start is to understand yourself, your intentions, and your behavior. Secondly, make an effort to understand others, their feelings, their intentions, and their responses.
Why Is Emotional Intelligence So Important?
Understanding emotions is critical in negotiation. That’s because you are responsible, at least in part, for the feelings of those you are negotiating with. For example, if you are doing or saying something that is irritating to the other person, cooperation will be more difficult to achieve.
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Are You an Introvert or an Extrovert?
One of the basics of emotional intelligence is knowing whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert.
Extroverts tend to be more communicative. Further, they tend to be more emotionally open people. They are more inclined to voice their views as well as their likes and dislikes. However, extroverts have a bigger challenge when they’re negotiating. That’s because extroverts may lack the self-control and self-discipline negotiation requires.
On the other hand, introverts lean toward being more deliberate in their responses. In other words, they are more inclined to reflect, weigh, and consider before speaking.
What’s more, these are valuable skills in negotiations. The more prudent your communication, the less likely you are to give away your position by saying too much.
Play Your Cards Close to Your Vest in Negotiations
As a matter of fact, the last thing you want to do during a negotiation is make yourself vulnerable to the other party. This you can easily do by giving them more information that you need to, making your actions easier for them to guess.
Curb Your Competitive Nature
Regardless of your level of emotional intelligence, successful negotiations in business can be challenging. Therefore, it is important to learn to manage your need to win.
For example, when you’re engaged in a negotiation, do you feel internal pressure get a better deal than the one that was originally on the table? If so, learn not to let ego and greed get in your way.
This tendency can be particularly difficult to manage. Although business is all about winning and outperforming your competitors, many people lose out on good deals because their desire to win is so high.
This is why some businesses turn to experts for negotiation consulting. In this way, they train their staff on the best negotiation tactics.
Learn How to Deal with Rejection
On the other hand, some inexperienced negotiators start with an offer that they know the other party can accept because they fear hearing the word “no.”
However, if you learn to open with a position that asks for what you want and yet is realistic, you will hear the word “no” a lot. It is part of the process, though, and you should expect it.
Keep the Dialogue Open
Whatever you do, learn to keep the dialogue open. When you do, the other party will be less likely to walk away. To do this, invite the other person to tell you how close they can come to your offer.
This keeps the conversation professional, rather than emotional. And it allows them to talk about your position as well as theirs.
Additionally, effective negotiation depends on recognizing and managing non-verbal cues. You’ll also need to learn how to sense personal and social biases. All of this comes with emotional intelligence.
Use these skills to develop trust, an essential element in communicating, especially with difficult people.
Emotional Intelligence Helps You to Build Trust
When it comes to emotional intelligence and influencing another person, we must understand how the other negotiator is perceiving us. We also need to understand how that perception matches with her or his wants, needs, and desires. This is essential to building trust, which is a necessary ingredient to any successful negotiation.
Emotional Intelligence Can Help You Succeed at Life
Emotional intelligence can help you to succeed in negotiations. What’s more, it can also help you to succeed in life as well. That’s because negotiations are a fundamental aspect of learning to live with other human beings.
So cultivate your emotional intelligence, and learn to use it to your benefit. It will take you far in business—and in life.