Women are typically advised to keep emotions and business separate as it relates to our careers. However, numerous articles and studies have looked into the important role that emotions can and do play when negotiating on behalf of your company or individual business. Sites such as Forbes and Harvard Business Review both shed insight into positive and negative means of utilizing emotions to receive the desired result for yourself and your business.

According Forbes.com, emotions do in fact play a role in interpersonal negotiations. It goes on to note that recent research in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology unpicks the role of emotion – namely disappointment – in negotiations. “In traditional negotiations, disappointment might be seen as a sign of weakness which can be exploited by tough bargainers, resulting in lower offers. But the research found that the effect of disappointment depended on the relationship individuals had with their opponent.” In the long run, disappointment as a tool for negotiation can only be effectively used for your benefit if you are negotiating with someone you have or have had a personal relationship with whom you identify with. The article also went on to note that the use of anger and other hard bargaining tactics seldom yielded beneficial results unless dealing with strangers.

Harvard Business Review highlights stories and other examples of negotiation tactics and the use of emotions to get their desired results. Some of the emotions ranged from anger, which prompted a buyer to burn a cashiers check during a closing on a multimillion dollar brownstone, to passive, which kept an employee from adequately negotiating time off to participate in a fellowship. Though most of these examples in this article are fairly extreme, none of them surprise me.

As an attorney, I often times tend to stick with laws and facts and how they are beneficial to me and my cause when negotiating. I do not view negotiating as a conniving mechanism to just “get what I want”. What I desire is most times backed up and supported by data and facts, so I never saw the need of throwing in unnecessary emotions to up the ante. I have witnessed and been a part of several negotiations where the opposing parties utilize anger, criticism and other unscrupulous tactics to sway the advantage to their side. It is not always pretty or attractive, but in some cases (not all), emotions, both positive and negative, have played a major role in swaying a desirable result in your favor.


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