October 30th, 2017

Negotiations, the Brain and Stress Part II

Photo: Stress-BioBarica women-2455724_1920 at Pixabay

This is the second blog with Part I having been issued October 23, 2017 at mikegreg.com/blog.

Just the thought of negotiations can cause stress. More recent articles from neuroscientists provide some insights on what we can do to address stress proactively before, during and after a negotiation to minimize threats. Last week this blog focused on attitude, preparation and trying to be friendly. This week the focus is on clearing the mind of worry, balance and emotional charged negotiations.

Clear the mind of worry

A great site regarding neuroscience and meditation is through the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley. If you sign up for free, you will receive a free newsletter and you can research topics such as stress and negotiations to explore the latest neuroscience articles on this or other topics. Neuroscience would suggest you consider meditation, prayer, reflection, or yoga twice a day for up to 20 minutes. This would assist you in clearing your pre-frontal cortex, make you feel more relaxed and allow you to have a clearer focus. This may very well help you address the anxiety of worry.

Balance

It is important to realize when we enter a negotiation that we come with our own baggage and so does the other side. You may know most of yours, but then not even realize what negative baggage is clouding your approach to the negotiation. You very likely have no idea what negative baggage is impacting the other side that could be clouding their perspective. For example balancing family and career could be a major issue at the moment causing additional stress. There could be health issues, money issues, family relationship issues, work issues or other issues that may cause the other party to more negative than otherwise.

In short, there is no one simple answer. Our brain is a dramatic ensemble of ideas. Knowing this, approaching a negotiation with others and viewing a negotiation as a multidisciplinary initiative may help you. This could significantly reduce your stress level, when you begin to focus on the needs of the other as well as their interests. A group of neuroscientists offer some ideas on how to balance family and career. You may find this helpful to give you ways to help you have more balance in your life too.

Emotionally charged negotiations

An area where stress is particularly evident is in emotionally charged negotiations. Neuroscientists have made a considerable effort studying emotionally charged negotiations. In a nutshell what can be said? As a lay reader I offer the following regarding our emotions:

  • We all have them.
  • It is possible to control them.
  • With practice we can become better at this.
  • It takes a conscious effort to reduce our own emotionally charged reactions.
  • Our emotions will drive our decisions

Knowing this, work to control yours. Use techniques that will help you reduce your stress, before, during (take a break, take several deep breaths, slow down, reach out) and/or after (go for a run, have a glass of wine, do what works for you, keep it friendly) the negotiation. Try to keep everything in perspective. You can control your own attitude. Do your homework and come prepared. Try to be friendly. Take steps to reduce your own stress before, during and after the negotiation. Understand that negotiations can be emotionally charged and that our emotions can drive our decisions, so work on controlling yours can be very beneficial.

Michael Gregory, NSA, ASA, CVA, MBA, Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court is an international speaker that helps organizations resolve conflict and negotiate winning solutions, client to IRS, business to business and within businesses. On point resources are available online at www.mikegreg.com and check out the blog. Mike may be contacted directly at mg@mikegreg.com or at (651) 633-5311.