Why Your Negotiations Fail: Getting Emotional Negotiation

Negotiation is a key skill from which we often shy away from, but which significantly impacts our ability to achieve other goals. Negotiation is a key part of life. Yet, many never master the art of negotiation because of the many internal factors that could be sabotaging them.

One reason why negotiations fail is getting emotional and losing objectivity. There are so many situations in which your emotions can push you away from your ability to look at things objectively. Sometimes, it comes from being triggered by something someone says or does (their approach). And, sometimes, there are some people whose personalities are highly emotional and reactive.


Whether emotion shows up as anger, upset, frustration, or a number of other emotions, it will not serve you – even if the other person is acting like a jerk.

Refusal to be triggered by the other person, whether they acted intentionally or unintentionally, gives you a tremendous advantage and can throw them off. While having an emotional reaction can hurt you. A lot of people make negotiation personal, making it hard to step back from the emotions a simple statement of fact might trigger. Regardless of that other person’s intent, even if they meant to be offensive, getting upset about it will put you off your game.

If somebody says something over the line, rather than getting upset, ask clarifying questions:

  • “Well, did you mean—?”
  • “Why is that so important?”
  • “Do you really believe that’s true?”
  • “Tell me more about why you think that?”

These questions can help you properly understand what the other person meant to say. If they meant harm, you can make a decision on whether or not to move forward. If you determine they didn’t mean harm, you can avoid having your original interpretation of what you think they meant derail the negotiation.


Another emotional problem in negotiation is falling in love with a deal. Falling in love with a deal can push you into making concessions you should not make. You may agree to overlook things, or you bury issues that you should have examined more objectively.

You may unintentionally let yourself get so invested—in terms of time, money, and energy expended in making the deal work, you can no longer walk away.

Or, you have become emotionally attached to a particular happy outcome. You start envisioning it. You start seeing it. You start tasting it.

No matter how it happens, falling in love with a deal can destroy your negotiation.


Another way emotions get in the way of negotiation is through frustration. One of the most common ways frustration plays out is when the process isn’t moving fast enough for you. Your natural response may be to push the timing, putting the other person off.

Or, you may feel that the other side is being unreasonable. Instead of looking for new approaches or to calmly hold firm, you get frustrated and throw up your hands. Frustration closes down creativity and thinking. Frustration is a form of self-sabotage and can come from emotional attachments you’re not even fully aware of. Take a deeper look. Why get frustrated? If you can accept that things won’t always get done on your terms, and that’s okay, you will be a much more successful negotiator. It takes trust and an understanding that you may not be meant to do a deal at this time with this person.

Do the hard internal work before negotiating to prevent your emotions from controlling you and pushing you in the wrong direction.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal- Ready Assessment today!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, deal-maker, and business consultant with more than 35 years of professional negotiating experience as a successful entrepreneur and attorney.


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