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Your Weekly Walkaway - The Elephant in the Negotiation Room; Negotiation Stress
The Weekly Walkway highlights negotiation in its ‘good’, ‘bad’ and sometimes ‘downright ugly’ forms. Newsletter Issue No. 25 (17th March 2023)
What to expect?
Quote of the Week - “Resilience can go an awful long way”
Tactic of the Week - The Stress
Thought of the Week - Managing Negotiation Stress and Developing Resilience
Remember: You are a negotiator!
You are always managing some form of conflict, a difference of opinion or interest.
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QUOTE’s OF THE WEEK
“Resilience can go an awful long way.”
Edie The Eagle
“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”
TACTIC OF THE WEEK
Negotiations are stressful enough without ‘them’ using stress against you. Beware of the following;
Risk: If the outcome of the negotiation has significant risks for you or your business, you may feel a lot of pressure to achieve a favourable outcome. If they know this then they will more than likely use it against you.
Uncertainty: If you're negotiating in a new or unfamiliar situation, or if you're not sure what they want or are willing to accept, then this can be used against you.
Time: If there's a deadline or time constraint on the negotiation, you may feel rushed and stressed about making a decision quickly. If they know your time pressures then they will use it against you.
Historical: If you have personal or emotional baggage that you bring into the negotiation, such as a history of conflict with the other party or a fear of failing again, or past unresolved issues that weaken your position. Then the other party will more than likely use these against you.
Complexity: If the negotiation involves complex issues you don't understand then they may use this against you. They may use this level of detail to overwhelm and stress you.
It's important to recognise when you're being exploited. When ‘they’ are purposely stressing you out. And they will be doing it for a reason. It is a tactic.
As soon as you feel overly stressed in a negotiation, immediately take steps to manage that stress;
Take a 6 second pause. Count it. Or if needed take a timeout, take a break, for as long as you need, minutes, hours or even days, you're in charge;
Breath. Accept what has stressed you out and then name the emotion you are feeling. Then consider if a change is required or if you should stick to your plan;
Seek support from a colleague or Coach. By sharing your stress you will better manage it and improve your ability to make clear and rational decisions.
THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
The Elephant In The Negotiation Room; Negotiation Stress
This week's Weekly Walkway is going to address the elephant in the negotiation room; Negotiation Stress. Or more specifically how to manage negotiation stress by becoming more resilient.
We’ve all felt it. We’ve all been impacted by it. Negotiation stress is the psychological and emotional pressure you experience before, during and after negotiating with others. It is a common experience, a fact of your negotiating life. It is part of the great game and caused by a variety of factors;
high stakes, risk and expectations;
pressures brought on by time, circumstances and personalities;
feelings, emotions, uncertainty and conflicting interests.
Negotiation stress manifests as physical and mental symptoms such as;
elevated heart rate, sweating and nervousness;
anxiety, frustration and feeling overwhelmed.
Fact. Negotiation is uncomfortable. Negotiation is stressful. If you’re not stressed you are not pushing yourself or them hard enough to maximise the deal.
So to be effective you require resilience, to cope with stress and keep playing the game, to keep bouncing..
To be effective you’ll need to learn how to adapt and recover from setbacks, challenges, and adversity. It involves the ability to bounce back from difficult situations, to keep going despite obstacles, and to maintain a positive outlook in the face of uncomfortable circumstances.
Let's be clear here. Resilience is not the absence of stress, adversity, or challenges, but rather the ability to cope with and overcome them. It involves a combination of;
positive coping mechanisms.
There are several techniques and strategies that can help individuals become more resilient. Here are some of mine:
Practise positive self-talk and keep a positive attitude: I often use positive self-talk to help me cope with challenges and setbacks. I focus on my strengths and remind myself of past successes. This helps me keep a positive attitude which helps me approach stressful situations with a sense of curiosity and openness. Positivity helps me reduce my stress and boosts my self confidence, making it easier to bounce back from the situation that is causing me stress.
Prepare for potential challenges: One of the best ways I find to help me be resilient is to prepare for all potential challenges. This takes strategic thought and the ability to anticipate issues, not just stressful issues, but all issues. Remember, any issue can become stressful so I develop ‘what-if' and ‘then-we’ strategies to address them all, before they happen. By preparing in advance, I feel confident and in control during the negotiation, and am better equipped to handle issues when they arise.
Build a support network: Having a strong support network is an important part of resilience. I include my friends, family members, mentors / coaches, and colleagues who offer emotional support, advice, and encouragement to me. Being part of a supportive community helps me feel more connected, less isolated, and provides a buffer against stress.
Develop problem-solving skills: I recognised early on that resilient individuals were often skilled problem-solvers. They were able to identify root causes and generated multiple solutions to address them. So I learnt to develop my problem-solving skills to help me feel more in control of situations, which increased my confidence and therefore my ability to overcome stressful problems.
Practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques: Mindfulness and relaxation techniques help to manage stress and anxiety. I’ve found long walks with my dogs and playing contact or physical sports like rugby and hockey very helpful in managing my stress and increasing my resilience. Others find deep breathing, meditation and yoga useful. All can help to calm your mind and reduce tension in the body, making it easier to cope with your stress and difficult circumstances. What’s yours?
Actively listen: If you are a regular to The Weekly Walkaway you will already have read that active listening is an important skill in negotiation. It helps you to better understand ‘their’ perspective. It can also help you to stay focused and engaged during negotiations, even when faced with difficult or unexpected challenges. By actively listening to the other party, I can remain resilient and flexible in my approach, I therefore can find creative solutions to overcome the obstacles that are creating stress. Last weeks Weekly Walkaway - point 3 - Listen Actively
Stay focused on the end goal: I try to remind the people I work with to remain focused on the end goal of the negotiation, we call it ‘Commander's Intent’. This means keeping in mind the desired outcome and working towards it, even when faced with setbacks or opposition. By maintaining a clear focus on the end goal, I find I stay motivated and engaged, and avoid getting sidetracked by minor issues or distractions. All of which increases stress.
Learn from setbacks and focus on personal growth and learning: I believe that by having a growth mindset and allowing myself to fail and learn from those failures, to do, make mistakes but to learn from those mistakes, rather than getting discouraged by them has enabled me to become more resilient. I try to use my setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning. I reflect on what went wrong, identify lessons learned, and use this information to improve my approach in future negotiations. I also reframe negative experiences in a positive light, and identify lessons learned from them. This mindset helps me to bounce back and builds my capacity to handle future challenges.
Unblock yourself by using a Coach: Even the best and most resilient negotiators use Coaches. When obstacles are put in your way, use a Coach to help move you forward. I do. When I’m blocked, I use a Coach to throw me a hand grenade and explode my thinking. When I’m needing some positive talk and an injection of confidence, I use a Coach. You should try it.
This is my list. I find by using these techniques, I’m able to develop my own resilience and have become better equipped to handle the stressful challenges and obstacles that arise during negotiations and in my personal life.
It is important to note that resilience is not a fixed trait. It is a skill that can and needs to be developed and strengthened over time. Every negotiator faces setbacks and challenges. The key is to bounce, remain resilient, adapt and keep focused on the goal.
We’d love to read your comments or thoughts. What do you think?
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