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Get It! Street-Smart Negotiation at Work

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Get It! Street-Smart Negotiation at Work

How Emotions Get You What You Want

Davies-Black Publishing,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

If you want to use the most rational approach to negotiation, you have to account for irrational emotions.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Author Lacey T. Smith is extremely down to earth. He presents his suggestions for how to recognize the emotional components of negotiations in clear and fairly basic English. He illustrates each suggestion with one or more stories and then distills the suggestions into brief, pointed lessons. Because of its clarity, recommends this book to all levels of readers who will be engaging in negotiation. You will find something you can use. However, some of Smith’s techniques can be applied only over the course of time, such as allotting time to videotape practice negotiations and to analyze the level of rapport you manage to establish. Other suggestions are extremely challenging, such as committing oneself consciously to developing and practicing empathy. Therefore, while the book can be read profitably by anyone - and enjoyably, given Smith’s folksy honesty - unless you are a committed, experienced negotiator, you may not be interested in all of Smith’s lessons or even able to apply them.


Emotions Above Reason

Emotions determine far more of what happens in a negotiation than the rational elements that people consciously advocate. If you recognize that, you start with a huge advantage.

Once you acknowledge the role of emotions, you can make finer distinctions. Recognize that two reasons motivate any action: the stated, public rational reason and the actual, private emotional reason. Uncover the real reasons behind each party’s actions, so both parties can act on them. Identify and work on the specific emotions. Given that level of understanding, you can create the hope of a mutually beneficial outcome. Because any positive action requires hope, you are likelier to persuade people if you can raise their hopes.

People also will find your point of view more persuasive if they like you or feel connected to you. Fortunately, you can have direct impact on how much you are liked. Create a positive bond by modeling positive interaction and communication. If you are friendly and smiling, people will respond to you in kind. Build your level of engagement by paying attention to the negotiation’s context. Observe details and use them to develop rapport. To...

About the Author

Lacey T. Smith has a Princeton M.B.A. and a Harvard law degree. In addition to studying negotiation at the Harvard Negotiation Project and Northwestern’s Kellogg School, Smith has negotiated in various industries. A former reporter, he has served as a state senator and assistant attorney general in Kentucky. Smith and his wife teach seminars on negotiation.

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