Emotion in negotiation is always a factor. The other party’s emotions. The other attorney’s emotions. Your client’s emotions. Your emotions. Planning for emotion should be part of your mediation preparation. We’re all human. Their emotions or our emotions can unintentionally lead to impasse in mediation.
Harvard Business School professor Michael Wheeler has been studying emotion in negotiation. The Harvard Program on Negotiation (PON) has scheduled a webinar with Professor Wheeler for May 10, 2012, entitled Steps to Understanding and Effectively Using Emotions in Negotiations.
Here’s a preview of key points from PON:
"1. Balance. Successful negotiators are calm but alert. Patient and proactive. Creative, yet firmly grounded. Maintaining those feelings and attitudes in proper proportion is just as important as mastering the substance of the negotiation.
2. Attunement. Getting in synch with counterparts is essential. If they are defensive and hostile, everyone is dragged down.
3. Influence. Emotions are contagious. When we bring anxiety to the bargaining table, others sense it. Conveying optimism is in our interest.
4. Resilience. Self-awareness is key: We need to know our own hot buttons and how to recover when others push them.
5. Satisfaction. Knowing what we want to feel at the end of negotiation helps us to get there."
I've had the pleasure of hearing Professor Wheeler speak. You can sign up for the webinar here.
(Emotion, the-elephant-in-the-room. I'm re-using the photograph. Photoshopped it myself!)