November 2, 2005
Excerpts: Beyond Reason - Part II
Strong emotions inform us that a concern is probably not being met, and they rattle us to try to satisfy that concern now. We often feel compelled to deal immediately with strong emotionsours and those of others. We want to alleviate the gnawing feeling inside us, or we want to extinguish any negative emotions directed toward us.
Immediate action puts us at risk of acting counter to purposes that are more important. If strong emotions are getting out of control, it is likely that each of us is reacting to the other and not acting with a clear purpose in mind. Without much time for thinking, emotional temperatures rise, as do the stakes in a negotiation. What was initially a straightforward transaction over money can become a conflict over status or autonomy.
How do you decide the right strategy for expressing your emotions? Know your purpose. Once you have a clear purpose in mind, it becomes much easier to choose a beneficial strategy to deal with your emotions.
For example, if your purpose is to educate the other party about the impact on you of their insensitive behavior, you may want to have that conversation over coffee when your client is not paying for your services. If your purpose is to get strong negative emotions off your chest, you may want to talk about the situation first with your spouse or with a trusted colleague.
In a negotiation, there are four common purposes for expressing strong negative emotions:
- To get emotions off your chest
- To educate others about the impact of their behavior on you
- To influence the other
- To improve the relationship
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.