March 24, 2020 7 minutes to read · 1600 words

Mindfulness 101: Negotiations and a Return to the Balcony

By Scott L. Rogers

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Bob represents a client who is selling its business. Terese’s client is interested in purchasing this business. Both enter the negotiation prepared. Still, given their clients’ needs and concerns, and the uncertainty inherent in the negotiation process, there are periods that get intense, positions seem intractable, and things get personal. The balcony is made for moments such as these.

The Mindfulness 101 column in the November 2019 issue of GPSolo eReport,Me-gotiations and Going to the Balcony,” addressed the interplay of mindfulness and negotiation. The column considered how negotiating with other people involves an internal negotiation in which emotions, beliefs, and physical sensations can generate inner conflict and influence decision making, often obscuring insight into why we act as we do. Bob’s negotiation with himself, while preparing the night before, on whether to offer a 10 percent or 15 percent reduction in purchase price is challenging enough, let alone the challenge involved in negotiating in real time the next day with Terese. Amid intense negotiations, the metaphorical “going to the balcony” can be helpful as it involves imagining looking down on the problem and its participants, and allows one to be less attached and emotional and better able to see the bigger picture.

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