Mindful Negotiations

Mindfulness practice is generally a solitary practice. We venture deep into ourselves. But, mindfulness practice does more than just improve the individual it also improves the individual’s ability to interact with others. There are a number of ways that mindfulness can work to improve interpersonal relationships including by increasing attentional focus.

In today’s Research News article, “The Influence of Mindful Attention on Value Claiming in Distributive Negotiations: Evidence from Four Laboratory Experiments.”

It was demonstrated that a brief exercise in mindful attention could significantly improve an individual’s success in simulated negotiations. The authors attribute the improvement to increased attention produced by the exercise.

Indeed, mindfulness has been shown repeatedly to improve attention in many disparate contexts. Today’s article suggests that even in negotiations, heightened attention can result from mindfulness and improve the outcome. How can attention improve negotiating ability?

In negotiations being sensitivity to the nuances in the subtle behaviors of the person being negotiated with can be very helpful. By being more attentive and screening out irrelevant stimuli the individual becomes better able to read the nonverbal cues coming from the other person. These cues are important for understanding the emotional reactions of the other person to each stage of the negotiations and can thereby assist the negotiator in refining offers and counteroffers. Being attuned to another makes your responses better aligned with what the other wants making you more successful.

Another way that mindfulness can be of help in negotiations is through improved emotion regulation. Mindfulness is associated with a heightened ability to recognize and manage one’s own emotions. In a negotiation it is easy to react to your own emotions and as a result respond inappropriately or ignore the most logical negotiating step. So, being able to better regulate emotions would provide a negotiating edge.

Mindfulness has also been shown to improve problem solving and creativity. A negotiation can be viewed as a problem solving task where the negotiator must figure out the optimum strategy to produce the desired outcome. Also, by applying greater creativity to the problem the negotiator can devise novel solutions, optimizing outcomes.

So, practice mindfulness and become a better negotiator.


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