Dealing with Emotions
Both buyers and sellers have a lot at stake, so it's not surprising that they sometimes get emotional. Experts from The Program on Negotiation at Harvard University offer five tips for defusing emotions.
- Recognize and understand your emotions and those of the other party. Ask yourself what is producing them.
- Make emotions explicit and acknowledge them as legitimate. Talk about your feelings and encourage others to do likewise.
- Allow the other side to let off steam. Listen quietly and encourage others to keep speaking until they vent their feelings.
- Don’t react to emotional outbursts. If one emotional outburst leads to another, the situation could spin out of control.
- Use symbolic gestures. Small acts, such as offering an apology, shaking hands, sending a short note, or eating a meal together, can smooth ruffled feelings and pave the way for positive discussions.
Source: Adapted from "Getting to Yes," by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton, 2nd Edition (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1991)
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