How to Leave Emotion Out in Negotiation and Life

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October 14, 2012
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November 18, 2012


Have you ever been in discussion with someone either verbally or written and it starts to get out of hand because they said or did something that really sparked an unpleasant emotional reaction?  We’ve all had it happen either in our personal lives, in business or both.

The thing we need to think about in those situations is how to react appropriately so as not to escalate into something that will leave both sides feeling like they are at war.

This is especially true in relationships but also in business.  Think about any relationship you’ve been in with a significant other, a child, a family member, co-worker or business associate.  Most likely at some point, they will say or do something to upset you or you may say something to upset them.  How you respond will be the difference in your own personal health and happiness.  How you handle the situation will leave you either peaceful and calm or charged up and stressed out.

How is it possible to not get emotionally charged up? Especially with something you are passionate about or feel like you are being taken advantage of in some way.  If you are unable to calm down in the moment, one thing to do is take a break.  Step away from the situation; take a deep breath and then return once you have calmed down.  When you do return, you need to have an action plan as to how you will remain calm if it starts to escalate again.

Another thing to do is have a friend you can call after a discussion to vent your emotion in a healthy way. In business, I will not have a discussion with someone who starts to berate or threaten me.  That goes personally as well.

I had a business partner for a very short time that used to blow up at me for things she perceived I did and also I watched her blow up on other people for things she perceived they did.  Needless to say that partnership was short lived.  I not only left the emotion out, I left myself out to protect my health as it was starting to negatively affect my health being around her.

The most important thing is to have some sort of a plan ahead of time so you will be able to remove yourself from the situation before it escalates.

What about staying calm in the midst of chaos.  If you watched the video accompanying this article, you will see that I am in the middle of chaos at the moment.  I am moving.  Whether you are in chaos in everyday life or in business/work, how you handle that will determine success.

If you are able to handle chaos in one situation such as a move, it’s great training for when you are up against it with any situation whether its business related or personal.  How you handle one thing is how you’ll basically handle everything.  Get a grip on the small chaotic events and the larger ones will fall into place.

Remember to always treat people the way you want to be treated and avoid those people who are emotionally charged and looking for drama.  Sometimes in business it can’t be avoided so have an action plan on how to handle those situations ahead of time.  I use the accountability buddy system and have close friends I call to vent to and seek advice from.  When you are in the situation, sometimes you can’t see what someone else can see.  Ask for help.  It’s a key to successfully navigating this type of situation.

If you get caught up in an emotional discussion and react accordingly, be kind to yourself, sometimes we are just human and can’t help it.  The thing to do in those situations is look at what triggered the response, and see if there’s something in you that you can address so it won’t happen next time.  We are all a work in progress and it’s progress not perfection that we are striving for.

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at

1 Comment

  1. I am definitely a work in progress when it comes to leaving the emotion out! I find that when I have been taking care of myself emotionally, physically, nutritionally, I do well at not getting caught in the drama in emotionally charged situations. However, when I have been “too busy” to take care of me, I tend to fall into the emotional roles of (but I am) right fighter and (that’s not )fair fighter much easier.

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