Improving Negotiation Effectiveness with Skills of Emotional Competence

  • Carolyn Saarni


How do thoughtful negotiators manage the tension that is inevitable in trying to maximize their own outcome, yet recognize that by creating mutually shared value in the negotiation process, both sides are more likely to attain their respective goals? In this brief essay I will offer a set of skills that comprise emotional competence, which will benefit negotiators personally as well as the interests of their constituencies and superiors whose positions they are expected to represent. Eight skills of emotional competence are listed: (1) awareness of one’s emotional state, including multiple emotions; (2) skill in discerning and understanding others’ emotions; (3) skill in using the vocabulary of emotion; (4) capacity for empathic and sympathetic involvement in others’ emotional experiences; (5) skill in realizing that inner emotional state need not correspond to outer expression and taking this into account in one’s self-presentation strategies; (6) skill in regulating emotional reactions in coping adaptively with distressing circumstances; (7) awareness that the structure or nature of relationships is in part defined by how emotion is communicated; and (8) capacity for emotional self-efficacy that is integrated with one’s personal integrity and moral sense. Emotional competence may help in managing complex negotiations, which invariably entail ambiguity, multiple counterparts or teams, time pressure, perception of crisis or high risks, dynamic interpersonal influences, and multiple layers of culture that interact in the negotiation process.


Emotional Experience Emotional Intelligence Social Exchange Negotiation Process Procedural Knowledge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I thank the editor Mauro Galluccio for his encouragement and patience, thus enabling with his editing to bring different scales of theory, inquiry, and practice together in a brief essay.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CounselingSonoma State UniversityRohnert ParkUSA

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