Emotionally Intelligent Negotiation

Travis Leleu bio photo By Travis Leleu
  • If you let the other side go first, you’ll save time. “Delay things in order to save time”. We think “let me tell you what I want so you can give it to me”
  • “seek first to understand, then be understood” means you don’t waste time spinning your wheels, pt-counterpoint
  • if you’re afraid to let the other side go first means either your position or your ego is weak

  • Genuine curiosity is a hack for emotional control. I’m gen. curious why you’re crazy.
  • use tone of voice intentionally
  • talking to yourself out loud in calming voice, you hear it through your ear, hits your mirror neurons, you can calm yourself down
  • rely on a process that you know works
  • teach yourself to maintain emotional control with the above hacks
  • Fight/Flight/Make Friends (3 types of people)

  • Negotiation is the art of letting the other side get your way. You let them go first, find gentle ways to get rid of the bad stuff they output (“how am i supposed to do that?”), cultivate the good stuff. other side feels collaboration, feels powerful, comfortable, so they are more likely to throw out more options. When they throw out an option that suits you, you say “thats brilliant lets do that”.
  • sumary: get them talking until they throw out something you like, then you have an agreement

  • “yes”/agreement (what) is nothing without implementation (how)
  • want it to be the other sides idea, because they’ll implement it faster/better/with less followup required if the idea was there. that’s where the efficiency comes from. – anecdata: 50% of deals signed in one company never get implemented (killing themselves over lack of implementation) – yes is nothing without how, and it’s one of the biggest toxic money eating bad patterns in business

BATNA is a weakness

  • in theory good, in practice a horrible idea
  • problem: it becomes your goal
  • problem: if you don’t have a batna you’re taking yourself hostage
  • solution: let it go entirely
  • objective was to get people to calm down by having an alternative in mind. in practice, becomes a goal and you leave money on the table

Problem: high anchor in negotiation

  • poor EQ approach b/c it signals to the other side you’re not dealing fairly/respecting them
  • instead, come in with an emotionally aware approach by starting a conversation with “ive got a lousy proposition for you” then say it, then shut up and let them talk

Negotiation Worksheet

  • summary of facts and conditions “just the facts ma’am”. what brings us here today. drive for a summary the other side would agree is true.
  • look for any possible fears the other side might have in the back of their mind about us
  • often counterintuitive
  • if bigger, they might see you as bullies
  • if neutral third party, what fears might you identify?
  • identify and call out fears can dismiss them. don’t take it personally, think about how your industry/role/whatever could be perceived by others, then acknowledge the fears and move on. FEAR GETS IN THE WAY OF DEALS MUCH MORE OFTEN THAN BENEFITS MAKE DEALS (3-9x)
  • 70% of “buy” decisions are made to avoid loss, moreso than to receive equivalent gain
  • think of the reasons why they wouldn’t do business with you, first (DEAL BREAKERS)
  • eliminate deal breakers before you talk about deal makers
  • espousing my value prop does not take into accoun their perspective, it’s a bad bad bad approach

What we have now*

  • effective summary of the facts that the other side would agree to
  • consideration and labels for deal breakers
  • now you’re ready to talk

Accusation Audit

  • what are their potential accusations about us?
  • also think about why they would do a deal with us?
  • sequence things – first remove the negative before you go to the positive. sometimes removing the negative is so powerful the other side will pitch you on the positives.
  • now label things. take the possible negatives (deal breakers) and just call out the elephant in the room. it disarms the power of the deal breaker, so you can move on to the positives “I’m sure we seem like we’re trying to push you around”
  • what’s the reputation of people in your position, whats the reputation of people in your industry
  • address it up front so you can get dialed in
  • “what would you like to deny before we get started”
  • don’t deny it (that makes it worse), just call it out. instead of denying you say “im sure it seems like” but you don’t flat out deny it, let it hang so they can deny it
  • Calibrated questions
  • “it seems like you might have some next steps in mind” “seems like you have some ideas / next steps youve been thinking about”
  • theory: ask a question, system 2 gets called in to play. making more of a statement, you don’t trigger a formulated response, instead getting something less filtered THE FEAR OF LOSS IS THE SINGLE BIGGEST DRIVER OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR prospect theory: loss stings twice as much as the equivalent game LOOK FOR THE LOSS. it’s hardwired into everybody. 70%buy decision stat = avoiding a loss
  • people arent afraid to fail, theyre afraid to fail in a new way.
  • hiring IBM is a “safe” way to fail, failing in a new way is humiliating = loss of self esteem / status ** Shape the perceptions of someone taking a risk on you. Call out the elephant.
  • ignoring any negative leaves it as a land mine
  • “Why in Gods name would you ever <elepahnt in the room like ‘listen to a hostage negotiator’>?”
  • “no, you might know somethign we don’t” <– they said it, so it holds a higher ring of truth to them
  • Write down the things you learned in that negotation you didn’t know going in. If you can’t do that, you learned nothing and you didn’t do a good job.
  • depending on your objective (humans are goal oriented)
  • come up with a lofty goal then think about how you’re going to beat it by discovering new information

  • motivator: being involved in the stuff that matters to everybody else
  • “run into trouble” – work on the company’s biggest problems
  • high job satisfaction, low downside (cant screw up a problem more), high upside (rep as troubleshooter)

  • you’re in a negotiation whenever someone is trying to get a yes out of someone else or “i want” is in your brain.
  • worst negotiation position is to not know you’re in a negotiation.
  • “time” is the commodity in every negotiation = resources committed = support for a project = budget

  • never be mean to someone who can hurt you by doing nothing (inaction / deprioritization can hurt you)
  • get people to feel like helping you, they might be able to help you in ways you don’t know
  • active listening (pro-active listening)
  • proactively listening to their fear of loss, having heard it, i have a toolkit designed to deal with that fear of loss exactly
  • empathy saves time, rooting out the problems early ** Figure out what you can throw on the table iff you feel like it, or you feel connected to me, or you feel attached to the outcome. This is cultivated through emotionally intelligent approaches. **
  • listen to their tone when you toss something out there, listen if they tonally express strong agreement of if they telegram tehre’s a problem. if there’s a problem, that could be a dealbreaker, so you need to get it out in the open. “I heard something in the tone of your voice that tells me there’s a problem” vs “It sounds like theres something here Im just not getting” = “what would you like to tell me if you think you wont get attacked for telling me”

  • Use your tactical empathy skills to figure out what other people are driven by. Everyone is driven by loss.


  • people love when someone doesnt have to be but is
  • peers love it b/c you didn’t have to
  • subordinates same, see you as being a generous and gracious person

Labeled Skill (most universally applicable). put a label on things, rather than asking a question. hack to keep the other person in their type i mode.

  • When you ask questions, it puts analytical types on guard (they engage system 2 to come up w/ response), think through implications. “What are the next steps” versus “seems like you have some next steps in mind”

No-Oriented Question (crazy insane success)

  • Intentionally Re-Word your “yes” questions into “no” questions
  • Instead of “would you like to do this?” ask “are you against this?”

Discussion of the state of flow - physical and mental exercises to stay in a state of flow

  • meditation, move around, primal scream, smile and laugh
  • force a laugh will trigger a chemical change

  • Best predictor of future behavior is past behavior *
  • The frog’s mistake is believing the scorpion won’t be a scorpion

  • People not open to learning are emabarrassed about being wrong
  • fear of loss in there some place. perception of themselves if they don’t know what they know, risk loss
  • everyone has something buried deep, its what really drives and makes people go

Smallest habit that makes the biggest difference: taking a moment to let the other side articulate what’s burning on their mind. saves a lot of time, better relationships, if they feel listened to. tends to be short, because being listened to, and really heard, is satisfying.