Von Stefan Kühn

Many negotiators react with disappointment, resignation or even anger to a negotiation course that they perceive as negative. Emotions, real or fake, almost always trigger a reaction from the other party.

In the case of anger these are either counter-attack or resignation. In the case of a withdrawal, the angry person seems to have won for the time being, whereas in the case of a counter-attack, one could hope at least that through the friction that arises, something new would be created. Usually neither of these two things are true. This biased view of things leads to a disastrous, repetitive and unsatisfactory loop. Especially in negotiations where several parties are necessary to realise the deal over a long period of time, the alleged winner often only takes home a short-term success. Potentials, new and value-generating ideas as well as long-term relationships are not tapped.

The following, non-concluding statements and considerations might help ” victims of anger” as well as ” practitioners of anger” to escape the negative loop:

  • Unbridled anger is not a sign of strength, but of weakness, overstrain or uncertainty. Whoever recognises this in a negotiation holds the real power cards in his hands. This is one of the reasons why professional negotiators do not get put off by the outbursts of rage of their counterpart. Don’t let you manipulate by the so called dominance of your counterpart, but recognize the drivers of anger.
  • Emotions can’t be avoided, but they can be managed. If you call for a break, you can at least offer the possibility of relaxation.
  • Angry parties can’t listen. So don’t waste time with pointless arguing nor with justification. Rather, concentrate on asking meaningful, de-escalating questions
  • People who often react angrily can’t easily discard their pattern. The fact that many parties give in is one of the reasons for this behavior. Do not wait for the so-called best time for a conversation or a negotiation. You run the risk of waiting a very very long time.

Tired of being driven by anger? Change the game! INCS shows you how.

About the author

Stefan Kühn
Negotiation expert

Stefan Kühn is a senior international negotiator, mediator and facilitator and experienced in high-risk and high-stakes negotiations in sensitive markets. He successfully conducts national and international multi-party negotiations and consults businesses, organizations and governmental bodies in demanding and conflicting situations. Stefan Kühn graduated from Harvard University and Oxford Saïd Business School and holds a Master of Science in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution and an MBA.