Apr 27, 2021

How to keep your cool

Calibrated questions are great but without self-control and emotional regulation, it doesn’t work. The first and most basic rule of keeping your emotional cool in a negotiation is to bite your tongue. You have to stay away from knee-jerk, passionate reactions.

The Japanese have this figured out. When negotiating with foreigners, it’s common practice for a Japanese businessman to use a translator even when they understand perfectly what the other person is saying. That’s because speaking through a translator forces them to step back and take time to frame the response.

Another simple rule is, when you are verbally assaulted, do not counterattack. Instead, disarm your counterpart by asking a calibrated question.

The basic issue here is that when people feel they are not in control, they react by becoming extremely defensive or lashing out. This leads to our rational brain being overwhelmed by the fight-or-flight mechanism in the limbic system. Negotiations in this mental state only lead to bad outcomes.