The heartful negotiator – part 3

The heartful negotiator – part 3

Feelings and Emotions in the Heart

In the previous 2 articles of the series, RAVI VENKATESAN set a framework for how prior disposition, ideas, thoughts, emotions and feelings all play a huge part in negotiation. He also took a deeper look at what constitutes prior disposition as we walk into a negotiation. In this article he’ll take a look at real life negotiation scenarios and explore the role that some of these feelings and emotions play. He’ll also review some tips and tricks on how to manage feelings and emotions.

Feelings and emotions in the heart always come in dualities. Broadly these can be categorized into 5 main sets of opposites.

Greed versus Contentment

This opposite forms the basis for most feelings and emotions, and so it is most important. Let’s take a scenario where Sam and Janet, a young couple, are trying to decide on where to go for their next vacation. They have both been saving up for this vacation for a couple of years and want to go someplace really nice. In many ways Sam and Janet are a great example of ‘opposites attract’. Sam is always looking for more. He wants to get the best deal and squeeze out the best advantage. Janet tends to be content with whatever she gets and is careful to not over reach.

Sam: Let’s go to Paris this time. It is great in the summer, and such a romantic destination.

Janet: I thought we could go to Laguna Beach. The tickets would be cheaper, and we could save some money for another trip during Christmas.

Sam: We’ve worked so hard for this. I really want to make this a big one. Why not go all out?

Janet: All right. I do want you to be happy. Let’s do Paris then.

Sam: Let’s go all out and fly first class. I can get a personal loan from work.

Janet: I don’t think that is a good idea. We are already going to spend all our savings on this. What if either of us loses our jobs?

Sam: Now, why would you think of a thing like that! If you don’t want to go then let’s just not go.

Let’s pause and ponder over this simple negotiation. Many of us have gone through similar experiences. Sam negotiated effectively making a case for why they should go to Paris. Janet was reluctant but agreed. However, Sam got greedy and this took the whole negotiation off the rails. Many times, when we let greed creep in, it triggers an angry response from the other side, and then we have to make more concessions to get back to the same place. This is exactly why we should carefully avoid greed in a negotiation.

Tips to manage greed versus contentment:
Whenever you articulate your position, ask yourself the question,“Do I really need this, or am I trying to get more just to get more?” Note, many times we will express a position that is more than we need, just so that we can leave some room to negotiate. This is fine as long as we are sensitive to how the other person will perceive our position.
Feel free to call out greed politely and respectfully. For example, you can say, “That is a stretch. Do you really need that, or would it be nice if you could get that?” Or you could say, “Is that a nice to have or a must have?” These types of questions can help rope in greed in the other person.

Peace versus Restlessness

Let’s take a scenario where John and Tim, who are students, want to rent Mary’s apartment. Mary really needs to rent her apartment out, but she has been very restless about what it would be like to have students living there.

Mary: I am glad you guys are interested in renting this apartment. Are you sure you can afford the rent?

John: The rent is high, but Tim and I can manage it by working part time. We like the place and are looking forward to spending time in it.

Mary: Great, there are some rules though. You cannot have a lot of people over. Parties are not allowed.

Tim: That would not work for us. What if we promise to keep the place clean and safe, and assume responsibility for repairs if any damage occurs?

Mary: Why should any damage occur in the first place? I really need to rent the place, but I feel very disturbed at the prospect of it getting trashed.

John: We are never going to trash the place, but we do want to have friends over. We will make sure nothing happens.

Mary: I am not sure this is the best fit.

This negotiation is a great example of restlessness or disturbance that spirals in one person and clouds her judgment. Mary could have potentially offered a discount on the rent in exchange for Tim and John doing maintenance on the apartment. She could have suggested limitations on the hours up to which they could have friends over, and so forth. However, she was so restless and disturbed that it impaired her ability to generate creative options.

Tips to manage peace versus restlessness:
Relax yourself prior to negotiations. Identify anything that is making you restless and write down your concerns. This will prevent the restlessness from spiraling out of control. A great way to relax can be found at watch?v=HuiV395xI4I 
If you spot restlessness in the other person, then politely suggest negotiating at a different time.
Ask the other person to look at it from your perspective. This generally calms them down and gets them to a more peaceful state.

In the next article, we’ll look at other feelings and emotions with additional scenarios. We will also understand how these opposite emotions are interrelated and create virtuous or vicious cycles that impact our negotiations. The first step to improvement is awareness. In your next negotiation, try becoming more aware of these two opposites – greed versus contentment and peace versus restlessness – in yourself and the other person.





Ravi Venkatesan

About Ravi Venkatesan

Ravi lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and currently works as Chief Technology Officer in a software solutions company. He is also a regular public speaker and public speaking coach. He has been a Heartfulness meditator for over 20 years and is passionate about applying meditation lessons to improve workplace relationships and productivity.

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