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Your Weekly Walkaway - There's language in her eye, her cheek, her lip... Episode 3
The Weekly Walkaway highlights negotiation in its ‘good’, ‘bad’ and sometimes ‘downright ugly’ forms. Newsletter Issue No. 32 (12th May 2023)
What to expect?
Quote of the Week - “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”
Thought of the Week - Episode 3 - There's language in her eye, her cheek, her lip
Remember: You are a negotiator!
You are always managing some form of conflict, a difference of opinion or interest.
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QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
“The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.”
“Any person capable of angering you becomes your master; he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him.“
THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
Episode 3 - There's language in her eye, her cheek, her lip...
Welcome back negotiators. In this week's Weekly Walkaway we conclude the Lucy Trilogy.
Episode two looked at what happens when, in conflict, in a negotiation, your Lucy takes control of your computer and changes the things you do and say and how you can use that knowledge to observe and deduce what is happening to your counterpart. You can get into their head!
Episode three, the conclusion, how to control your Lucy.
Enjoy and please, feel free to email us directly and confidentiality if you’d like to discuss this or other topics that interest you. (email@example.com)
In episode two we discussed that when your Lucy perceives danger, the conflict you feel in a negotiation for example, she will instinctively flick you into survival mode, fight, flight or freeze. This reaction is triggered by stress or anxiety and makes you do things and say things you wouldn’t normally do.
We suggested to be an effective negotiator you needed to observe this reaction in your counterparts. To observe the collaboration of three, the clusters and changes of behaviour between their Eyes, Body and Voice and to then ask yourself why. Why are they uncomfortable? What does it all mean?
So the better you know someone the better you will be able to observe changes in them. We therefore suggested you needed to get out there. Yes.. out there! To go observe your counterparts in their natural wild state, when they are not ‘in conflict’.
To ask them check-questions and observe their behaviour as they respond;
To note this behaviour and when it comes to negotiation, you can observe the collaboration of three and check for inconsistencies;
To make an assumption about why their behaviour has changed. Why are they uncomfortable, stressed, embarrassed or anxious… and test that assumption. To get into their head.
Now, if this is what we suggest you do then it would be foolish not to consider that ‘they’ will be doing something similar to you…
So, how do you control your Lucy, your emotions and behaviour, so ‘they’ are unable to get into your head?
Tame Your Lucy
You must learn to tame your Lucy but HOW?
“How do I tame my Lucy”, I hear you call out?
“Give her bananas”, we shout back!
Professor Steve Peters uses the metaphor; ‘feed bananas to your inner chimp’, to help explain the concept of managing your emotional mind. Your Lucy.
It is a great representation of how you can provide Lucy with positive, rewarding experiences to keep her content and satisfied. To keep her off the computer and to allow ‘you’ on the computer so you can act logically and make rational decisions.
The purpose of feeding Lucy bananas is to create a favourable environment within ourselves, where she feels content and less likely to cause a Fight, Flight or Freeze response.
When ‘she’ is satisfied that you are safe, safe from conflict, safe from the danger she perceives that conflict brings to you, then she is less likely to take over your computer and say things and do things your rational brain wouldn't normally do.
Before we talk BANANAs there are a few steps you need to take.
These are ‘your’ steps and must come from ‘you’.
You can't be told to do this. You must consciously recognise you ‘need’ to do them;
Introduce yourself to your Lucy: You firstly need to recognise that you have a chimp in your head and although she might not be called Lucy, she is real, she is there, she is strong and she controls your emotional mind;
Understand your Lucy: She is there. She has always been there. She is there to keep you safe. By understanding her nature and how she influences your behaviour, you can start to take back control or learn to and allow each other to coexist and share control;
Manage your Lucy: When you have accepted your Lucy and allowed each other to coexist then you can start to appreciate what triggers could antagonise her and provoke her into wrestling control from you. More importantly, when you manage your Lucy, you will be able to calm her strong instincts, develop habits and techniques to reframe her negative thoughts, manage emotions better and make more rational decisions. You’ll know what Bananas you need to give her.
I didn’t prepare for this. ‘They’ shouted at me. ‘They’ blamed me. ‘Their’ proposal was extreme. I’m sitting on a wobbly chair in front of the blinding sun…
‘The Bananas’ - “I’ve Got This Lucy”
Here is our nine, yup that’s right.. NINE (9), point list of bananas for you to use;
Plan / Plan / Plan / Plan / Plan / Plan - If you have a plan Lucy is more likely to release control of the computer to you. Preparation and knowledge is your best defence. Picture in your mind the scenario and how you’ll deal with it. Create ‘What If’ scenarios so you can let Lucy know; “I’ve got this”. “I planned for this.”
Manage Expectations and Manage Time: Effective time and stakeholder management will alleviate much stress, so take charge of time and create a realistic timeline for the negotiation. Importantly set realistic expectations, internally and externally, for the negotiation process. Mainly with your internal stakeholders. Setting their expectations upfront and communicating often, will go a long way to manage your’s and therefore Lucy’s anxiety;
Preparation: Thoroughly preparing for the negotiation will boost Lucy’s confidence in you. Researching the subject matter, assessing yours and their strengths and weaknesses, developing contingency plans, understanding the other party's position, and outlining negotiation goals and strategies will provide Lucy with a sense that you are in control.
Get trained and Practice: Practise your communication and negotiation skills beforehand to build Lucy’s exposure to conflict and her confidence in you dealing with it;
TEAM / Support System: Having a supportive network, such as coaches, mentors and work colleagues will provide reassurance and a safe space to discuss concerns and seek guidance before, during and after negotiations. Sharing thoughts and emotions with trusted individuals will go a long way to alleviate yours and Lucy’s stress. Sometimes all you need is an injection of confidence.
Visualisation. See your success. Go on.. Look at it. Embrace it. Now go get it! By visualising your successful outcomes and positive interactions with your counterparts during the negotiation you will create a positive cognitive bias. This technique will help enhance Lucy’s confidence in the environment and people within it. Mentally rehearse the successful negotiation outcome with confident body language and effective communication. This will fill you with self-assurance. Just the banana Lucy is looking for. “I’ve got this Lucy”;
Positive Self-Talk: Use this banana to counter any negative thoughts and self-doubt Lucy might be whispering on your shoulder. Remind Lucy of your strengths, capabilities and previous successes to boost her confidence in you;
6 second stop and Breath. When you feel it, control it. Stop for 6 seconds. Count the 6 seconds. AND BREATH… Control your breathing – slow deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Take a little time to calm your breathing and when ready re-engage. If you need to take a break, do it. Leave and take your time to get control of Lucy using other Bananas like Breathing and Positive Self-Talk. Or maybe re-look at your plan, name the emotion etc… “I've got this Lucy”. Breath.
Name the emotion: Always a good one. Obviously not out loud.. Use your inner voice for this one dummy! Name the emotion you are feeling. You are telling Lucy you are aware of yourself. You are in control of the trigger. That you recognise and acknowledge the emotions, that you are aware of the stress and anxiety you are feeling and that you can accept it as a ‘normal’ response to the situation. “I’ve got this Lucy”;
Control what you can control: Change the wobbly chair. Close the blinds and block out the blinding sun. Take a time out, leave the situation, return when you have regained control. Plan for time-outs even if you don't need them. This will help calm your Lucy before she becomes anxious. The time-out will help to regain your composure, refocus your mind and manage any stress or anxiety. Stepping away from the negotiation table temporarily is beneficial to both parties. Sometimes it is their Lucy who is triggering your Lucy!
Focus on Active Listening and Observing ‘Them’: A great way of managing your Lucy is to give her something else to focus on. Get her to concentrate on helping you actively listen to and observe / deduce your counterpart. Get into their head. Trigger their Lucy. This re-focussing shows Lucy she is stronger than she first thought. That you arent the one in danger, your counterpart is. This gives your Lucy confidence. Redirect her attention to the other person and reduce self-centred anxiety;
Practice Self-Care: Finally, take care of yourself. Lucy is much more confident in you if you are physically, mentally, and emotionally fit, before you go into a negotiation. Prioritise sleep, exercise, and healthy eating to maintain your well-being. Engage in activities that help you relax and reduce stress, such as volunteering and or hobbies.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol before and during negotiation. They exacerbate anxiety levels and impair decision-making abilities. You are more likely to have a negative Lucy reaction when under the influence;
Physical Exercise: Engaging in regular physical exercise before negotiations can reduce stress and anxiety levels. Exercise promotes the release of endorphins, which are natural mood boosters and stress reducers;
Sleep: Getting enough sleep before and during a negotiation helps improve cognitive functioning, reduce stress, and increase energy levels. Simple!
An effective Negotiator needs to tame their Lucy. You must learn to control your Lucy. Give her bananas.
Find time to introduce yourself to your Lucy. Take the time to understand her and appreciate her. Then and only then, when you have earned the right to manage her, will you be able to tame her.
Each negotiator's experience is unique, however managing your Lucy is an ongoing process that requires practice and self-awareness. Each of us behaves slightly differently and some will have different triggers, just like some of you are frightened of spiders and some aren't, but you all need to find which bananas are most effective for you. It's important to experiment and find what works best.
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