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Chapter 3: Don’t Feel Their Pain, Label It

Instead of denying or ignoring emotions, good negotiators identify and influence them.

Emotions aren’t obstacles, they are the means to effective negotiations. Empathy is paying attention to another human being, asking what they are feeling, and making a commitment to understand their world.

A good negotiator uses “tactical empathy” which is one step beyond empathy. It is understanding the feelings and mindset of another in the moment, and also determining what is behind those feelings, so you can increase your influence in all the moments that follow. Tactical empathy is bringing our attention to both the emotional obstacles and the potential pathways to securing an agreement. Labeling is a way of validating someone’s emotions by acknowledging them.

Actions to take

Do an accusation audit.

Negotiation skills