Even the most accomplished brilliant person often says to me, “I hate negotiating,” or, “I am bad at negotiating.”
When we delve into why, what is always there is some form of fear of conflict. It is as if when one goes to negotiate anything, you are about to enter a battle. It is presumed that it will be unpleasant, uncomfortable, and likely you will lose or certainly not win. With that, it is completely logical that one would hate negotiating.
You can shift this experience with a bit of knowledge about neuroscience and with some new language.
Neuroscience tell us that when your brain perceives a threat, the amygdala in the brain dumps neurochemicals into your blood stream and you experience a fight, flight, freeze or appease others response. Additionally, the amygdala hijacks your executive functioning of your brain where your brilliance, empathy and creativity lie, so in negotiation, you are not functioning at your best once this happens. The issue is that your amygdala hijack happens when your brain not simply perceives a threat, but when it has a memory of a threat – like when you say the word “negotiation” and you have associated it with conflict or something unpleasant.
What to do to empower yourself? Shift the context. To do that, you need new language.
If you think about it, what is actually happening when you are negotiating? You are simply having a conversation and discussing details about what works for you, and what works for the person you are talking to. You are working things out to come to an acceptable agreement.
This is true whether you are negotiating a salary, a position or what meal to eat. You have a desire. Someone else has a desire. Neither of you will get what you desire unless you have a conversation. So, simply talk. Say what you want; they say what they want. You work out what works for both of you. It really is about everyone winning, everyone in the conversation getting what they want, and coming to an agreement about the details of how that happens. There is no conflict or threat. There is simply talking.
The context in which you have any conversation shifts the way you perceive it and, ultimately, the outcome of the conversation. When you are in the fight, flight, freeze or appease others mode of the amygdala hijack, you are not going to be satisfied because you will not have had a conversation using the executive functioning of your brain. It is worth calming your brain down by thinking about this ahead of time, creating empowering language and shifting the context, getting in partnership with the person you are negotiating with to come up with aligned agreements.
It really is all about creating a win-win situation.