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How To Use Zen As A Negotiating Ally

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It requires great self-control to be an effective businessperson.

I’m certainly not perfect in this department, and maybe that’s the reason I take special time out to be mindful of my emotions as they fluctuate over the course of a negotiation.

In this respect, you can say that I am using Zen as a negotiating ally.

I’ll try to be alert to surges, either of enthusiasm or of reluctance. In other words, am I rushing into deals, or running away from them?

Either approach is flawed. Few deals need to be struck, especially when the iron seems the hottest. In fact, too much gusto or patience can spoil what might have been the proper deal setting momentum.

I try to monitor my gut.

Is it unusually tense? This signals resistance to the deal, on my part, at some yet to be ascertained level. Perhaps I don’t trust my counterparts. Occasionally, I’m reluctant because I don’t feel comfortable taking on the assignment.

There can also be too much acrimony that flashes from negotiating. People can take the process, personally and become too ego-involved in “winning.”

On the other hand, both parties can want a deal, any deal, so badly, that they come away with one that is flawed to such an extent that everyone soon regrets it. That’s the worst of all worlds.

Feeling no tension, before a deal is consummated, isn’t ideal, necessarily. It could mean there is a misunderstanding on someone’s part, needing to be corrected, fast.

There is an expression in interpersonal relationships that comes to mind: “A tumultuous courtship signifies an even more tumultuous marriage to follow.”

Monitor your emotions in any negotiation. While they don’t provide perfect guidance, we can learn a lot from them, and use them to improve our skills, over time.

Dr. Gary S. Goodman, President of, is a popular keynote speaker, management consultant, and seminar leader and the best-selling author of 12 books, including Reach Out & Sell Someone® and Monitoring, Measuring & Managing Customer Service, and the audio program, “The Law of Large Numbers: How To Make Success Inevitable,” published by Nightingale-Conant. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, worldwide. A Ph.D. from USC’s Annenberg School, a Loyola lawyer, and an MBA from the Peter F. Drucker School at Claremont Graduate University, Gary offers programs through UCLA Extension and numerous universities, trade associations, and other organizations in the United States and abroad. He holds the rank of Shodan, 1st Degree Black Belt in Kenpo Karate. He is headquartered in Glendale, California, and he can be reached at (818) 243-7338 or at: [email protected]


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  • Posted On October 25, 2006
  • Published articles 283513

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