Learn how to negotiate like a diplomat, think on your feet like an improv performer, and master job offer negotiation like a professional athlete when you download a copy of our FREE special report, Negotiation Skills: Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques to Help You Become a Better Negotiator, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.


emotional temperature

What is the Emotional Temperature in Negotiation?

Learn how to take your emotional temperature during a negotiation to guard against acting irrationally or in ways that can harm you.

During a negotiation, try to gauge whether your emotions are manageable, starting to heat up, or threatening to boil over. When we’re caught up in the heat of the moment, a high emotional temperature can derail us from following through on our intentions.

For example, consider how you would respond to threats and ultimatums such as these during negotiation:

  • “If you try to back out, you’ll never work in this industry again.”
  • “Give us what we want, or we’ll see you in court.”
  • “That’s our final offer. Take it or leave it.”

In the face of such tough talk, should you strike back with a counterthreat? Probably not.

Because counterthreats raise the emotional temperature of a negotiation, they will get you even further off track. Instead, immediately after hearing a threat (or just after you issue one yourself), call for a break.

Take your emotional temperature whenever you are faced with an important decision. Reflecting on your emotional state and its source can help you determine whether it is triggered by the current situation or by an unrelated event, such as a spat with your significant other or a fender bender on the way to the office. Taking your emotional temperature may also help you better understand your counterpart’s feelings in a negotiation—for instance, if you realize your own bad mood could be influencing his.

In our FREE special report from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School – The New Conflict Management: Effective Conflict Resolution Strategies to Avoid Litigation – renowned negotiation experts uncover unconventional approaches to conflict management that can turn adversaries into partners.

We will send you a download link to your copy of the report and notify you by email when we post new advice and information on how to improve your business negotiation skills to our website.

The following items are tagged emotional temperature:

How to Control Your Emotions in Conflict Resolution

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

To guard against acting irrationally or in ways that can harm you, authors of Beyond Reason: Using Emotions As You Negotiate Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro advise you to take your emotional temperature during a negotiation. Specifically, try to gauge whether your emotions are manageable, starting to heat up, or threatening to boil over. … Read More 

Negotiation Skills: Threat Response at the Bargaining Table

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

When someone issues a threat or an ultimatum, take a step back and diagnose the problem. Consider how you would respond to threats and ultimatums such as these during negotiation. In the face of such tough talk, should you strike back with a counterthreat? Probably not. Because counterthreats raise the emotional temperature of a negotiation, … Read More 

Emotional Intelligence as a Negotiating Skill

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

The concept of emotional intelligence burst into the cultural imagination in 1995 with the publication of psychologist Daniel Goleman’s bestselling book of the same name. Experts have predicted that scoring high on this personality trait would boost one’s bargaining outcomes and have found many successful negotiation examples using emotional intelligence in their research. … Read More 

Sidetracked: Why and How We Decide to Act

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Francesca Gino’s newest book, Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed and How We Can Stick to the Plan discusses a common shortcoming that we have all faced at some point in our lives – the inability to set a goal and stick to it. Often when we set goals for ourselves we seek to rectify some … Read More 

Should You Ignore a Threat

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “Threat Response at the Bargaining Table,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Consider how you would respond to threats and ultimatums such as these during a negotiation: • “If you try to back out, you’ll never work in this industry again.” • “Give us what we want, or we’ll see you in court.” • “That’s our final … Read More