How Stress Can Affect Your Negotiations

September 15, 2018

Pressuring someone to make a decision and forcing them to choose what we want are negotiation strategies that are widely used in the business world. The target is to confuse the other person. By diverting their attention from the important elements, we can get them to do what we want. However, we won’t always have the opportunity to lead the whole process. Sometimes we’ll have to negotiate.

A negotiation process requires more than just knowing how to communicate and explain things skillfully. Managing stress is also necessary, especially if we have to make decisions and deals in a hurry. If time is running out and we have to give an immediate response, our stress levels can increase.

“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”

-Peter Drucker-

Stress during a negotiation

As we have seen, stress can emerge when we’re negotiating something, especially if we feel pressured. However, sometimes stress can be positive. The key is how we deal with it.

Many underlying reasons can make us feel overwhelmed when negotiating. A bad negotiation can happen due to a misunderstanding with our boss or coworkers. A project that wasn’t delivered on time and made the company look bad or an excessive workload can also cause stress.

Group negotiation.

Thus, when stress invades us, the first thing we feel is an overwhelming sensation. Ideas pile up in our minds and keep us from thinking clearly. Instead of doing it in an orderly and calm way, chaos takes over. That’s why, if we’re stressed and have to negotiate at the same time, we’re more likely to be confused and this can affect our decisions.

Sometimes, stress can make us try to escape. We start to feel more pressure, so much so that we want to get out of the situation. It can even make us feel insecure and as if we didn’t know how to act or how to face the conflict that may arise. We may also be unrelenting with the other person or not express our opinions.

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”

-Peter Drucker-

How to reduce stress in negotiations

If we give in to stress, there will be bad consequences. Learning how to deal with stress in order to succeed and not let ourselves get carried away by pressure is important. To do this, it’s important that we take the following steps into account:

  • Be well prepared to negotiate: refuting opinions in a justifiable way is difficult if we’re not well informed. We need to have enough knowledge about the subject we’re negotiating. Knowing other colleagues’ opinion before negotiating can also help us know what we can expect during that negotiation.
  • Practice active listening: this is a key aspect in any negotiation. You have to listen to the other person before speaking. What do they think? What point do they want to make? It’s better to not rush when it comes to speaking and to listen carefully beforehand.
  • Use emotional intelligence: if you start feeling stressed during a negotiation, you may raise your voice and not listen to the other person. Therefore, it’s important to breathe, calm down, and control your emotions. Identifying both your own and the other person’s emotions is important during a negotiation.
  • Start the negotiation over: if the negotiation has strayed from the main goal, you may start over. In order to do so, you can go back to the start or just start again another day when you feel better and have enough information to do it successfully.
  • Take your time: knowing when to postpone or resume a negotiation is important. Rushing won’t help you at all.

“Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”

-John F. Kennedy-

Two people preparing a negotiation.

Stress can set us in motion to achieve our goals. But if it’s coming from constant pressure, stress can affect you and not let you shine.

However, if you know how to go about the negotiation, how you should prepare for it, how to deal with possible conflicts, and how to deal with the resulting stress, everything will be much easier.