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HBR Guide to Negotiating by Jeff Weiss

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Chapter 13

When Emotions Get in the Way

Go from boiling to cool.

The Problem

Many people fear that no matter how they prepare, their negotiation will spiral into an unproductive debate or a shouting match. Even if you’re approaching the negotiation with a collaborative, joint problem-solving mindset, it’s possible that things will get heated. You know when it’s happening: Perhaps you feel yourself getting emotional; you sense that your blood pressure is rising, that you’re becoming angry or anxious. Maybe your counterpart is doing the same. The volume might be getting louder, or perhaps one or both of you have started to yell.

Let’s look at an example inside a company doing its annual budget planning. Betty, the head of sales, is preparing her ...

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