The heartfulness negotiator – part 8


In the previous articles of this series, RAVI VENKATESAN explored factors that influence the outcomes of our negotiations. Many times, we are not even aware of these. We discussed how prior disposition comes into play, coloring our approach even before we begin. We reviewed how feelings and emotions in the heart vacillate between opposites, making us take positions that are not in our best interest. We also looked at how our ego, intellect and mind create their own distractions. In this final article, we’ll bring it all together and evolve a simple and comprehensive checklist that you can use for your negotiations.


Before any negotiation, take a snapshot of your prior disposition using the following steps:

Gently close your eyes.

Bring your attention to the lower left side of your chest (approximately where you feel your heartbeat). There is no need to pinpoint an exact location.

Ask yourself the following questions and spend a couple of minutes in introspection:

What are my strongest likes and dislikes?

What are my strongest desires and aspirations?

What am I worried or concerned about?

What do I feel guilty about or regret?

What do I want more of?

What is making me restless?

What is creating anger, irritation, frustration or annoyance in me?

What makes me feel afraid or anxious?

It’s okay if you don’t have answers to all these questions. Just jot down whatever comes to your mind in a couple of minutes.

Your prior disposition will bring to your awareness what is important for you. It will also alert you to what may color your judgment, as you get into this negotiation. As you start working through your negotiation, to manage your emotions effectively, and understand and work with the emotions of your counterparts, keep the following brief checklist in your mind:

Am I being greedy or overreaching? Is my counterpart doing this?

Am I getting restless and distracted? Is my counterpart doing this?

Am I getting irritated, frustrated, annoyed or angry? Is my counterpart doing this?

Am I getting anxious? Is my counterpart doing this?

 Do I feel confused or unclear? Does my counterpart seem confused?

Just by keeping these 5 simple things in mind, you will become more effective at managing emotions as you negotiate. Also, keep in mind the core concerns from Beyond Reason by Daniel Shapiro and Roger Fisher: appreciation, affiliation, autonomy, role and status. These are common concerns for everyone and impact negotiations at a non-rational level.

As you move into your head, remember that your intellect is a wonderful tool at analyzing information and making decisions, but it has no moral compass. Make sure that you filter what your  intellect evaluates by using your heart.

Your ego is constantly updating your mental model of yourself versus others. Ensure that you don’t fall into the traps of arrogance, excessive feelings of self-importance, or for that matter the opposite, a feeling of inferiority. Finally, be alert to the wanderings of the mind. Refocus by taking a minute if needed. You can also use techniques like meditation to ensure that your mind will always be focused and attentive, as it should be.

As with anything else, practice makes perfect. Enjoy the journey as you incorporate these concepts and become a truly Heartful Negotiator, who develops trust, builds relationships and generates win-win outcomes. After any negotiation, reflect and see if that win-win feeling was created.

Read previous article


Ravi Venkatesan

About Ravi Venkatesan

Ravi lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and is currently Chief Technology Officer at USAT. 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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