Leave Emotion Out
Some situations call for emotion to be inserted into the conversation. For instance when the other side is getting emotional, there is a rare time when you should respond accordingly to break the pattern and get the discussion back on track. You have to make that determination based on who you are in a conversation with.
However, in most cases, you want to do your best to leave emotions out of the conversation. Getting emotional in most circumstances doesn’t resolve anything and in fact can escalate the situation out of control and cause more problems than you originally started with. You can’t negotiate with crazy and if someone is crazy emotional, it’s best to remain calm.
Intense emotions or anger rarely gets a good result from those who are on the receiving end. Yelling at a customer service person isn’t going to get the problem resolved faster. Granted, sometimes they are just reading a script and don’t have the ability to use critical thinking. That is frustrating enough but throwing in emotion usually will not work to your advantage.
When my son was 14, he had a birthday party at my house and invited about a dozen of his friends. They were shooting water balloons all around the house. They decided they wanted to go to the local school parking lot to shoot them. School was out for summer so using the parking lot was no big deal as long as they cleaned up the balloons when they were done.
The school was one block over. I didn’t know they had started shooting water balloons at cars! I found this out very soon when a neighbor on the corner came banging on my door and started screaming and yelling at me about what the kids were doing.
He was red in the face and extremely angry. He kept screaming at me about watching my kids and that the police were on their way. He looked around at all the broken water balloons and kept talking about the “evidence” being all over the place. The more he screamed, the calmer I remained. I just stayed calm and kept saying “I understand, I’m sorry, I’ll take care of it.” He kept on screaming wanting me to jump in and get into it with him. He finally just threw up his hands and stormed off.
Had I inserted emotion into that situation, it would not have resolved anything. You have to be discerning about the kind of emotion that is being used. If it’s the “you can’t negotiate with crazy” type like this guy was using, no amount of emotion will get to a solution. Thinking like a negotiator is all about analyzing the situation on the spot and making decisions that will lead to the best solution quickly, easily and effectively. Consider that in all your negotiation discussions.
See you next week!
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez, MSgt USAF Retired