Proper Negotiation and Winning: The Role of Emotions


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Heated, often lengthy negotiations are an integral part of human coexistence. There are many examples for this. But what exactly is going on? And why is that justified?

Proper Negotiation and Winning: The Role of Emotions Proper Negotiation and Winning: The Role of Emotions


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Dr. Cornelia Topf Dr. Cornelia TopfDr. Cornelia Topf is a certified business coach and international management trainer.

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The winner takes it all

In professional life and especially in the digitized world of work, we can observe all of them closely: The winner takes it all. Even if we feel more willing to compromise, our brains may put us under the microscope.

Veni, vidi, vici: I came, I saw, I won. Even today, this saying of the old Caesar is often quoted and has something fascinating for many.

Negotiating instead of begging

It should go quickly with the “victory” over the “opponent”. The reality is different. The more time you have, the less you are dependent on a short-term result, often bought with great compromises. Whoever determines time and space is always the more powerful.

Despite many years of hard work, you did not receive the longed-for promotion yet, but the youngster with the big mouth? No matter what you are with yours Chef Negotiate, you lose the short straw?

How to negotiate correctly!

Do not beg any longer, stop meekly nodding to any rejection, realize your value and negotiate! For who does not negotiate, who does not win!

With a courageous, self-assured attitude and positive attitude to negotiation, you will also leave the negotiation table with a winning smile and a great load of dopamine in the blood.

Lazy compromises, in which the brain rejoices

By the way: 90% of all people are willing to compromise. Ask yourself only what the individual understands by compromise. Fifty-fifty? Probably not.

Rather "80 percent to me, 20 percent to you." A compromise where the reward center should cheer. Be vigilant that it is your own and not that of your negotiating partner.

Three examples of negotiations

  1. Example ThyssenKrupp: Negotiations on merger of the stainless steel division with Outokumpu confirmed. They are currently in talks with ThyssenKrupp to explore possible strategic options. At the present time, however, there is no certainty as to whether there will actually be a transaction, it said.
  2. Example Stuttgart 21: At Stuttgart 21, the railway boss relies on negotiations: In the dispute over the additional costs for the Stuttgart 21 construction project, railway boss Rüdiger Grube is opting for a friendly solution. "We don't want a fight," said Grube.
  3. Example of negotiations on the EU agriculture budget: The negotiations on the future of the EU's agricultural policy aimed at achieving progress in environmental protection, for the rural population and in long-term food security. However, it seems that the well-known culture of agricultural payments continues.

What happens there?

One wonders: what happens there? When will the parties finally come to a conclusion? Of course, successful negotiation always requires a good deal of perseverance.

Experience shows, however, that often the time of "switching" from competing behavior ("I assert myself", "I do not give in", "I make you flat") to cooperative behavior (where are the similarities, how can we address them) Taking interests of both sides into account, what have we achieved so far together, where could a compromise lie?) Is missed.

From competition to cooperation

This is absolutely necessary if you want to achieve a common result. Negotiations are always interactions between people in whom emotions play an important role - even if many do not want to or even deny that.

Even if the situation is initially tense by provocations, the defense of the opposing side or even personal attacks - positive conversation climate contributes to positive emotions.

It depends on the negotiating partner

It's never about your concerns, your goals, your interests alone, but always about those of the negotiating partner. This is the great art: Find out what exactly the other wants, what moves him, what he addresses, what he really wants or needs.

Anyone who provokes or attacks usually starts an avalanche that they can no longer control. So-called “irritating comments”, contrary to popular belief, do not really weaken the opponent.


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  1. Jan Schneider - Filmography by type

    Emphasizing the emotional components strongly reminds me of Harvard's concept of negotiation, which aims to be tough on the matter and soft on the relationship level.
    Their five principles are outlined as follows:
    1. Differences between the subject of the negotiations on the one hand and the relationship between the ones on the other hand
    Negotiating partners (on the other hand, to avoid embarrassing the issue)
    2. Do not focus on positions, but on the underlying interests (often the positions are only means to an end, the interest behind it and should be reached is often another)
    3. Develop as many options as possible, evaluate and decide later
    4. Apply generally accepted norms or principles as objective decision criteria
    5. Decide for or against a bargain by comparing it with your best alternative

    • Simone Janson

      Hello Mr. Schneider,

      thank you for the reference, the Harvard negotiation concept I will gladly times in the detail look. However, I also see some contradictions: focusing on the interests behind the position as in the Harvard negotiation concept requires a certain rationality. This, as Ms Pot does, stands in the way of the victory of the individual. How could a solution look like?

      • Jan Schneider - Filmography by type

        The Harvard Negotiation Concept seeks to master individual selfish motives. The approach is that many negotiations take place in the context of a lasting relationship. Once the relationship is disrupted, material solutions are often made impossible. At the same time, even those who manage to assert their positions against the interests of others will not win.

        The prerequisite for every successful communication is a trouble-free relationship between the participants. The goal is a discussion that is dominated by the problems of the subject and not by the egoisms of the individual. A win / win situation arises only if an appropriate solution is set that satisfies both interests.

        If everyone concentrates on his and the interests of the other person, the solution remains in the foreground and there is no “bargaining for positions”. Interests are the legitimate concern of every negotiating partner.

        • Simone Janson

          Thank you for your comments. However, ME still does not solve the problem that perhaps selfish, irrational motives may oppose the collective will to concentrate. How is this dealt with?

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