Meditation is seen as a way to relax, focus on yourself and clear your cluttered brain of extraneous and harmful thoughts. Dina Kaplan, in an article in Forbes magazine, wrote about how meditation may make you better at negotiation
She stated she thought meditation would help her in her personal life but it also helped her professionally. She says it “dramatically” improved her negotiation skills. Kaplan writes she was a “terrible” negotiator, often not getting what she wanted and angering the other party.
“I went from almost never getting what I wanted and leaving people upset to being so successful it almost scares me. Now I accomplish what I need and leave my counterpart feeling good about the deal and our relationship,” she writes, crediting her daily twenty minute meditation sessions.
- Meditation quiets your mind creating mental space to absorb more information.
- You notice what people are telling you beyond their words, such as their “vibe, tone and body language.”
- Management guru Peter Drucker said, “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”
- She also cites Albert Mehrabian, a UCLA professor and author of the book Silent Messages that communication is 55% body language, 38% tone of voice and 7% what is actually said.
Kaplan says prior to starting meditation she was a good listener. She had worked as a TV reporter so was able to focus words being said but couldn’t absorb information such as facial expressions, pitch, eye contact and gestures.
By reducing your thoughts when meditating you begin noticing things such as when people look away, start playing with their hair or speaking with a more emotional tone. She picks up on these cues and has a better sense for when someone is sharing an important point. This is referred to as emotional awareness. Kaplan calls this kind of information “negotiation gold.”
While negotiating in the past Kaplan states her focus was on getting a particular result which lead to the other party feel backed into a corner. If the person has nowhere to go, he or she may rebel and just say no. If the other party feels helpless, resentment can build, hurting the chances of an agreement and poisoning a potential long term relationship.
Kaplan states she started studying Buddhism and as a result she put much less emphasis on outcomes. “I find the more I meditate, the more I focus on saying what’s important to me and being honest, rather than simply getting what I want. What does this mean? Over time, as you meditate, you become less attached to outcomes. And the people you interact with and negotiate with feel less cornered and more free to make a decision that can be mutually beneficial,” she writes.
She found that meditation made her more empathetic which changes how you relate to the other party. “I often find myself saying (and believing) that I only want to do win/win deals. I encourage the person I’m negotiating with to walk away if the deal doesn’t feel right. When people believe you’re looking out for their best interest, that level of trust helps to close deals, especially if it’s a long-term partnership.”
Kaplan states that meditation has improved her personal life and negotiating skills by focusing on building trust, not on outcomes and being better able to clear her mind. She states it also has made her easier to work with and negotiate with. It takes an investment of time and effort to be able to meditate effectively. You may find it’s worth a try.