The Emotionally Intelligent Negotiator: Measuring Success Beyond the Bottom Line

Negotiation is an essential skill in both personal and professional life, and measuring its success can help you improve your performance in future negotiations. Emotionally intelligent negotiation considers three key measures of success:

1. Outcome

2. Perception

3. Emotions

The first measure of success is outcome-based measurement, which focuses on the specific results achieved through the negotiation. This provides a clear and objective way to measure success, but it may overlook the importance of the relationship between the parties involved and the potential for creating value beyond the specific outcomes.

You can gain more insights into your outcome performance by asking these types of questions:

  • Salary negotiation: Did I achieve the specific salary I was aiming for? How much did I manage to increase my starting salary offer? Did I negotiate any additional benefits, such as flexible working hours or more vacation time?
  • Business partnership negotiation: Did I successfully negotiate a mutually beneficial deal for both parties? Did I create value beyond the specific terms of the deal, such as by building a long-term relationship or gaining access to new markets? Did I consider the other party’s perspective and needs, or was I too focused on my own goals?
  • Buying a car negotiation: Did I negotiate a lower price than the initial offer? Did I successfully negotiate any additional perks or upgrades, such as free maintenance or an extended warranty? Did I consider the salesperson’s perspective and build rapport with them, or did I come across as too aggressive or confrontational?

The second measure of success is a perception-based measurement, which focuses on how the other person perceives you during and after the negotiation, as well as the reputation you create. This measurement is important because it can impact your ability to negotiate successfully in the future. J. Paul Getty, an American industrialist and founder of the Getty Oil Company was one of the richest people in the world during his time and was known for his business acumen and wealth. His famous quote was: ‘You must never try to make all the money that’s in a deal. Let the other fellow make some money too because if you have a reputation for always making all the money, you won’t have many deals.

This quote emphasises the importance of empathy and understanding in business dealings and suggests that a willingness to consider the perspectives and needs of others can lead to more successful and mutually beneficial outcomes.

You can gain more insights into your perception performance by asking these types of questions:

  • Job interview negotiation: How did the interviewer perceive me during the negotiation? Did I come across as confident and knowledgeable, or did I appear nervous or unprepared? Did I demonstrate that I am a good fit for the company’s culture and values? Can I ask for feedback on how I presented myself during the interview?
  • Vendor negotiation: How did the vendor perceive me during the negotiation? Did I come across as respectful and professional, or did I appear confrontational or dismissive? Did I build rapport with the vendor and establish a positive relationship? Can I ask for feedback on how I communicated my needs and goals?
  • Property purchase negotiation: How did the seller perceive me during the negotiation? Did I come across as serious and committed, or did I appear indecisive or hesitant? Did I negotiate in good faith and show an understanding of the seller’s perspective, or did I make unreasonable demands? Can I ask for feedback on how I handled the negotiation and whether the seller would be willing to work with me again in the future?

The third measure of success is an emotion-based measurement, which involves reflecting on how you feel about the negotiation and your own performance. This can help you identify areas where you excelled and areas where you could improve. Many people miss this critical measurement reference point and with it the opportunity to continue to grow as an emotionally intelligent negotiator.

Here are some examples of things to reflect on to gain insights into how you felt about the negotiation.

  • After negotiating a salary increase with your employer, you reflect on how you felt during the negotiation. You realise that you felt nervous and uncertain about asking for more money, which may have affected your negotiation strategy. In the future, you can work on managing your nerves and role-playing to help you build more confidence to improve your negotiation skills.
  • You negotiate a deal with a potential business partner and feel proud of yourself for securing a good outcome. However, after reflecting on your emotions, you realise that you were overly aggressive and dismissive of the other party’s concerns. You recognise that this approach may have damaged the relationship and could make it more difficult to negotiate with them in the future. You could decide to work on slowing down, improving your listening skills and finding ways to collaborate more effectively in future negotiations.

Some questions that you may ask yourself to gain more insight could be:

  • How did I feel during the negotiation? Did I feel confident and in control, or did I feel anxious or intimidated?
  • Did I manage my emotions effectively during the negotiation, or did my emotions get in the way of a successful outcome?
  • How do I feel now that the negotiation is over? Am I satisfied with the outcome, or do I feel like I could have done better?
  • What can I learn from this experience to help me in future negotiations?

It is imperative that we consider all three of these measurements of success in the preparation stage of our negotiations so that we effectively work towards a balanced, equitable interaction with our counterparts. You will also gain a more holistic understanding of your negotiation performance and improve your negotiation skills in the future.

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