Negotiating from a place of calm will get you better outcomes, better relationships, and better buy-in. Yet we rarely invest the time to ensure that we achieve this state in advance of our negotiations. This is a mistake. Our first and most important negotiation is negotiating our own mindset and familiarizing ourselves with techniques to show up from a place of calm is a key part of that process.
Last week, after interviewing Dr. Annie White (author of The Calm Code: Transform Your Mind, Change Your Life) on my Art of Feminine Negotiation podcast, I kick-started this series on how to negotiate from a place of calm, sharing a special visualization technique advocated by Dr. White that allows you to start retraining your neural pathways to find the calm.
As promised, this week I’m sharing three additional simple ways you can start to calm your nervous system on the spot to have those new messages imprint more deeply.
I Create a photo album
We’re human. We sometimes get in a state, considering worst-case scenarios. This is not a strong place from which to negotiate. So, if you find yourself in one of these negative states in a negotiation (or leading up to the negotiation), in that moment, forget about the negotiation.
Instead, make an album of pictures in your mind that make you feel calm, happy (or any positive emotion). In fact, ideally, I invite you to create an actual album of these photos on your phone right now. You can choose animal photos, beach photos, sunsets … whatever takes you to a calm place.
Then, next time you're in this tizzy about anything, bring out your personal feel-good photo album, set your timer, and go through it for three minutes. In that way you start to train and strengthen these pathways in your mind, so that, over time, they become stronger. Then you won't just default to the negative or the stress anymore.
II Breathe Through Your Left Nostril
If you're in a stressful moment (i.e., if you feel your breaths becoming shorter, more shallow, quicker, closer together, you're going into stress response), put your left hand on your chest and say to yourself, "I'm safe. I'm not in a life-threatening situation right now." Then take that left hand and move it down to your lower belly. As you breathe in, feel your lower belly extend out toward the opposite wall, as you continue to say, "I'm safe. I'm not in a life-threatening situation right now."
And the secret weapon to this process, according to Dr. White, is to then take your right index finger, cover your right nostril, breathe in and out only through your left nostril. As you breathe deeply, keep saying, "I'm safe. I'm not in a life-threatening situation right now." Scientific studies show that breathing in and out only through the left nostril activates your calm or parasympathetic nervous system and it calms you down faster. Who knew?!
III Ground Yourself
Before you go into a negotiation, imagine a big gold ball at the bottom of your spine. Then, pull all the emotions you want to feel at the end of the negotiation (as discussed in last week’s article) into that gold ball.
Imagine that gold ball turning into a gold rope that goes all the way down into the center of the earth, and all of those emotions go down that cord into that spot in the earth’s center where mother earth is surrounding them with her beautiful hands in support.
Also ask yourself who do you want to show up as in the negotiation. What emotions do you want to carry into the conversation? Do you want to bring love? Understanding? Support? Add these positive emotions into that grounding cord to be a touchstone for you.
If you start to feel off-center during the negotiation, or like things are getting out of your control, you can quickly visualize this grounded golden ball for a few seconds to regain your balance.
Confidence is key in negotiations. Nervousness and anxiety detract from confidence. Practicing these simple tips will help to calm and ground you so you can show up with more confidence in your negotiations and get better outcomes as a result. And not only do they make you feel better in the moment, but they also strengthen those part of your mind every time you use it by creating new, more positive, neural pathways that better serve you.
Are you looking to up level your negotiation skills?
Please enjoy my TEDx Ocala talk
- Rise of the Feminine Voice as the Key to Our Future-
How to Get What You Want from the Boardroom to the Bedroom
Negotiation skills are a woman’s secret weapon.
Art of Feminine Negotiation debunks myths and multi-generational gender conditioning that have stopped women from fully stepping into their power. Uncover the unconscious biases that have limited women from becoming the biggest and best versions of themselves.
Learn the key skillsets that mark superior negotiators, explore how women already possess these skills in spades, and master how to start invoking these essential skills with intention in everyday life.