emotional triggers in mediationPeople often try to manipulate others into doing what they want by making an appeal to their emotions. It’s a common negotiation tactic that you and your client should be wary of. Parties in negotiations often become unnecessarily carried away emotionally in the negotiation or arrive at an impasse due to their emotional connection to the underlying negotiation or the lawsuit which is the basis of the negotiation.

What Are Your Emotional Triggers?

Each party has a different emotional trigger.  If you trigger the other side’s emotional response, once that trigger is pulled and an emotionally charged statement is made or action takes place, you may have a hard time getting that bullet back in the gun. It may be difficult for the other negotiator or party to objectively evaluate the facts because of their emotions.

You can try to avoid this problem by determining what that trigger is, understanding when and how that trigger is pushed and doing your best to prevent yourself from clouding the negotiations with emotions.

Don’t allow yourself, or your client, to be manipulated by the other negotiator trying to push your emotional buttons. Know the parties’ emotional triggers and be prepared for a competitive negotiator who will try to use emotional triggers to get you or your client to agree to a deal or change your position.

A car salesman can be a good example of this approach.

  • A good salesman will ask a lot of questions to find out which car is the best match for you as well as coming up with information that will be the foundation of an emotional approach.
  • Why do you need a car? How will it be used? What are you looking for in a car? What do you want to avoid? Is the car for you, your spouse or a family member? What payments can you afford?
  • Once your cards are on the table, a salesman may use phrases that you might want to hear or might be opposed to based on emotional triggers.
  • With a reliable, new car you won’t have to worry about break downs that could cause you to be late for work or endanger your family by leaving them stranded by the road side. With this great, new, sporty car, you’ll get more attention.

When the buyer realizes what his or her emotional triggers are before going to the show room, he or she will be better able to ignore these emotional ploys and make a decision based on objective factors instead of the emotional ones. The same is true of a party entering into negotiations over a lawsuit.  If you can identify the emotional triggers that might send you down a preprogrammed path, you will be in a better position to not be manipulated by the other side.