Why Those With  High Emotional Intelligence  Make Excellent Negotiators

Sometimes it takes more than a high IQ to negotiate a positive outcome. In the legal profession, lawyers are faced with intense and often difficult opponents who are not always rational. These are times when having someone with high emotional intelligence (EQ) at the table, proves most valuable. Here are five of the top reasons why those with high EQ make excellent negotiators.



They Use Intuition Rationally

People who exhibit high emotional intelligence are emphaths, meaning they feel empathy for others. This is actually the hallmark of high EQ. Being able to relate to others, makes these individuals natural negotiators. Their ability to intuit a subject’s primary barrier to action and utilise that information rationally is an invaluable skill in the forum of negotiation. Simply exhibiting empathy with statements like, “I get the impression that you are having doubts about –” or “Perhaps you are concerned about –”, not only opens the door to solving a pain-point but also has a very disarming effect, which is key when negotiating with difficult subjects.



They Know How to Say “NO”

Emotionally intelligent people understand how to exert self-control. They tend to delay gratification and avoid impulsive action to achieve a better end result. In negotiation, “No” is often the gateway to a more refined discussion. It defines the boundaries and without it, often the negotiation could drag on needlessly. Choosing to say “no” instead of more ambiguous responses such as “I don’t know if that is possible” is an act of authority and establishes the limits necessary for fruitful negotiation.



They are not Perfectionists

Individuals with high emotional intelligence are not perfectionists yet they remain extremely motivated. They know that perfection is impossible, so they do not waste time on that pursuit instead, they roll with the punches and tend to more rapidly move forward. This is an important factor when they are confronted with a hard “no,” themselves. Instead of giving up and feeling a sense of failure, these individuals are more apt to rebound quickly and counter in a way that extends the conversation.

“Know what you want in the negotiation session, and what you can live without. ” – Richard Bayer, Ph.D., CEO of a career-coaching service.

This trait is especially valuable in negotiations since a “win” isn’t simply getting what you want but instead, is achieving the best possible outcome for all concerned.



They Know How to Disconnect

Being able to achieve a balance between their personal and professional lives is a behaviour consistent with having a high EQ. This is helpful in the realm of intense legal negotiations because it helps maintain levels of manageable levels of stress. Those who make themselves available to their profession 24/7 are more prone to burnout and anxiety. Studies continue to show that this factors into job satisfaction and improved productivity. Furthermore, the act of having achieved work life balance is perhaps the most impressive display of their negotiation skills.



They Possess Greater Self-Awareness

People with high emotional intelligence tend to be more self-aware. They understand what they are good at they know what they still need to learn. Weaknesses do not hold them back. They can identify their own emotions and do not allow anger or frustration for fueling drama and chaos. Since they are firm in their identity, they are more adept at handling conflict by remaining unaffected when personal slights are issued in the midst of a confrontation. Because this goes hand-in-hand with the trait of self-reflection, these individuals often employ a conscious effort to improve their knowledge, skills, and collaborative attitudes and utilise them in all aspects of their lives.



Learning to be Emotionally Intelligent

Emotional intelligence has a marked impact on the ability to build strong relationships, manage occupational stressors, and minimise professional risks. It is no surprise that many of the traits of a successful negotiator are also indicators of high emotional intelligence. Just as negotiation skills can be perfected, so too can emotional intelligence be enhanced. The following are four steps you could employ to boost your emotional intelligence:


  1. Increase self-awareness by identifying the emotions you are feeling at any given time. Attempt to determine the cause of the emotion, as well as noting the response you exhibit. Practise this during times of stress or conflict.
  2. Practise control of your emotions by determining if and when it is beneficial to express your emotions and when it is best to refrain. This is one way to limit negative thoughts and emotions.
  3. Learn to perceive the emotions of others by reading body language and non-verbal cues. This can help you gain valuable insight and give you an advantage when resolving a conflict.
  4. Learn to influence the emotions of others by modelling the desired behaviour. When you understand how to do this you will be able direct others in a way that is beneficial. It also will aid in facilitating trust and strengthen client trust and build stronger relationships.

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