Building mental strength in negotiations: 3 steps. Staying mentally strong and goal-driven in negotiations.

Building mental strength in negotiations: 3 steps. Staying mentally strong and goal-driven in negotiations.

Staying mentally strong and goal-driven in negotiations

Recently, one of my clients shared his frustrations with me during our coaching session. I had asked him about his last round of negotiations – which had been very important for him.

“Negotiations weren’t going well: There was talking, explaining and arguing, but no conclusion in sight. My negotiation partner was rambling on, asking me critical questions and just didn’t seem willing to come to an understanding with me. I was under so much pressure. I could feel my patience slipping!”

For many, staying mentally unshakable during negotiations when things are going south, is tough. They feel aggravated, impatient, under pressure. In a situation like this, many people react differently than they would in a quiet moment, ultimately jeopardising what could otherwise be a positive outcome to the negotiations.

Often “the other side in negotiations” employs this strategy deliberately to weaken the other party and to make it difficult to put two thoughts together. That is why preparing for a situation like this is really worthwhile.

My clients ask me:

“How do I stay patient in negotiations, when the going gets rough?“
“How do I remain pragmatic and return to the point when the counterparty keeps going off on a tangent?“
“How can I be sure that the counterparty is genuinely interested in negotiating with me?”
“What can I do to make headway despite the talks being difficult?”

This much is clear: People who simply react to pressure in negotiations are bound to lose out. A skilled negotiator handles pressure with mental STRENGTH.

3 steps to build your mental strength in negotiations:

1. Identify the factors that rattle you:

Why are you unable to take a clear and strong stand for yourself in difficult negotiation situations? Why do you become impatient or allow yourself to be thrown off balance?

Make sure to keep an eye on the following aspects:

Are you putting yourself under pressure?

In practice, this usually means time pressure, pressure to perform or financial pressure.

What type of self-inflicted pressure applies to you?

Do you feel pressure from outside sources?

Most of the time, external pressure comes from your boss, colleagues or someone in your personal environment.

Who is putting you under pressure?

Is the counterparty putting you under pressure during negotiations?

In practice, the counterparty often attempts to create pressure by suggesting a shortfall in something (a shortage of goods, services, time) or by creating the impression of competition.

How or with what does your negotiation partner pressure you?

Why is that important for you to know?

Feeling pressured makes you less resilient, thus weakening your position. You are prepared to make concessions simply for the sake of closing the deal. Your counterpart senses this and may use this to your disadvantage.

You can take action to counter this early on – so, in advance – only if you have clearly identified the factors that aggravate you.

2. Ensure transparency in the negotiation process.

Transparency in the negotiation process means that you and your negotiating partner have the same understanding of the object under negotiation and of the agenda.

At first, you may think, “Isn’t that obvious?”, but therein lies the proverbial rub: If you and your negotiating partner/opponent think that you are talking about the same thing for a long time but are still going round in circles, it may be because:

• the object under negotiation has not been defined clearly enough.
• the object under negotiation has not been marked out clearly enough.
• Or because you and your negotiating partner are not on the same page.

Why is that important?

Clear and unambiguous objects of negotiation and rules make your life easier by enabling you to:
• clear up misunderstandings.
• keep your bearings.
• remain pragmatic and prevent your counterpart from rambling on.

3. Set clear boundaries!

What will you not put up with?
What behaviour do you consider unacceptable?
How can you make it clear to your counterpart that they must respect your boundaries?

If you answer these questions for yourself ahead of time, you will find it easier to keep your interlocutor on track and in the conversation, because you will take attacks less personally.

Why is that important?

No matter whether you prevail or lose negotiations, they must always be grounded in dignity, respect and integrity. These are values you can insist on any time. Make sure you are aware of that!

Would you like help with your next round of negotiations? I would be happy to help prepare you for them strategically!

You can reach me at: or +436602400135.

Your Raluca Ionescu

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