Detachment: the Key to Success in Negotiations

Detachment: the Key to Success in Negotiations

15 de July, 2018

There is an incredible amount of literature out there regarding negotiation, and the key factors for succeeding at it. Most pieces point to the importance of knowing what you really want or being prepared to compromise…honestly? Of course these definitely help, but are pretty insignificant factors when we approach the art of negotiation from a holistic perspective.

I have had my own deal of negotiations in the professional sphere, and, as everybody does daily, in my personal life. And I noticed a pattern: the least I cared about the item at stake, the better the outcome. When I was creating expectations about the reward of the negotiation, or being emotionally invested into the process, I have failed more. This is not a coincidence!

As much as this might sound coming from DJ Khaled, the key to succeeding in negotiation is detachment.

According to Buddhism, the root of all suffering is attachment, considered as an emotional dependence from any material (or not) desire. And when you are attached to something, FEAR of loss gets into the game. Fear paralyses you, it suppresses rationality with emotions, changes your body language and makes you look weaker. All of this is terrible for negotiation.

Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we reach detachment from the object of negotiation. I believe everybody has their own approach, but I go by asking myself the following 3 questions:

  • Am I going to survive if I fail this negotiation? (as crazy as this question might sound)
  • Am I still going to be the same person if I fail this negotiation?
  • Have I been deeply affected after my last failure in negotiating? (we all went through failures)

As you can see, these are rhetoric questions. And as much as there is room for believing that a past failure changed us, or has been affecting for longer than expected, none can change our essence.

These questions help me reach a point where I do not care anymore about the outcome of the negotiation. As much as this might sound counter-intuitive, it represents a key to succeeding in negotiation, because we are detached from feelings (ex. fear, greed, etc.) that can undermine our innate ability to think and act strategically (ex. arguing rationally, bluffing, letting go before overpaying, etc.).



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