Mindfulness is Associated with Better Ability to Negotiate
By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.
“Mindfulness training increases empathy . . . enabling us to better appreciate the standpoint of the other parties to the negotiation. It makes it easier to reach a compromise and allows us to feel more connected with those we’re negotiating with – thus creating a sense of affiliation.” – Mindfulness Works
Negotiations are important not only in business but also in conflict resolution and mindfulness can help. It is important in negotiations to be sensitive to the nuances of behaviors. By being mindful the negotiator becomes more attentive and empathetic, making it easier to read the nonverbal cues from the other person. These cues are important for understanding their emotional reactions to each stage of the negotiations and can thereby assist the negotiator in understanding the needs of the other and thereby refining offers and counteroffers. Being attuned to another makes responses better aligned with what is needed for a successful negotiation.
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 emotions and as a result respond inappropriately or ignore the most logical negotiating step. Mindfulness has also been shown to improve problem solving and creativity. A negotiation can be viewed as a problem-solving task to identify the optimum strategy to produce the desired outcome. Also, by applying greater creativity to the problem the negotiator can devise novel solutions, optimizing outcomes.
In today’s Research News article “Variables Associated With Negotiation Effectiveness: The Role of Mindfulness.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01214/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1356251_69_Psycho_20200618_arts_A), Pérez-Yus and colleagues recruited adult non-meditators and meditators with a daily practice of at least 6 months in duration. They completed questionnaires measuring negotiation effectiveness, emotional intelligence, mindfulness, personality, motivation, negotiation style, and their meditation practice.
They found that the higher the level of negotiation effectiveness the higher the level of mindfulness, emotional intelligence, achievement motivation, extraversion, openness, and conscientiousness, the personality traits of extraversion, openness and conscientiousness, and the negotiation styles of integrating, dominating, and compromising, and the lower the levels of neuroticism. In comparison to non-meditators, the meditators had significantly greater levels of emotional intelligence clarity, mindfulness, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness, a greater tendency to acquire an integrating style in the negotiation, and a greater effectiveness of the negotiation and lower levels of neuroticism.
This study is correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. To establish causation, future research should examine the ability of mindfulness training to improve negotiation effectiveness. Nevertheless, the results suggest that meditation practice and mindfulness are associated with better negotiation effectiveness. Meditators are better negotiators. This is associated with emotional intelligence, and positive personality traits. Meditators had higher levels of integrating style of negotiations. In this style the negotiator is more attuned to the needs of everyone involved in the negotiation. So, meditators are better able to adjust the negotiation to satisfy everyone’s needs.
So, mindfulness is associated with better negotiation ability.
“The results suggest that when a negotiation was more effective, mindfulness was a causal condition.” – Jamil Awaida
CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies
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Pérez-Yus MC, Ayllón-Negrillo E, Delsignore G, Magallón-Botaya R, Aguilar-Latorre A and Oliván Blázquez B (2020) Variables Associated With Negotiation Effectiveness: The Role of Mindfulness. Front. Psychol. 11:1214. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01214
Negotiation is the main mean of conflict resolution. Despite its capital importance, little is known about influencing variables or effective interventions. Mindfulness has shown to improve subjects’ performance in different settings but until now, no study has shown its impact in negotiation. The aim of this study is to analyze which variables are associated with effectiveness and to determine if meditators are more effective in negotiation. A cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out. The study variables were: socio-demographic variables, negotiation effectiveness (Negotiation Effectiveness Questionnaire), mindfulness (Five Facets of Mindfulness Questionnaire), emotional intelligence (Trait Meta-Mood Scale Questionnaire), personality (NEO-FFI personality inventory), motivation (McClelland Questionnaire), and negotiation style (Rahim Organizational Conflict Inventory-II). A correlational study and a multivariate model were developed. Negotiation effectiveness was associated with age, mindfulness, emotional intelligence, extraversion, openness, conscientiousness, achievement motivation, integrating, dominating, and compromising negotiation styles and inversely correlated toward neuroticism. The effectiveness of the negotiation is explained by the variables clarity, age, conscientiousness, dominating, and compromising style. Meditators were found to be more effective than non-meditators.