2 Minute Guide – How to Diffuse a Heated Negotiation


High-stake negotiations can easily result in a flare up of emotions as opinions come to a head and conversation becomes tense. Turn down the heat with these trusted steps:

  •  Calm yourself: by focussing on how you are physically reacting to the argument. Tempers ignite when opinions conflict. Take deep breaths as a signal to your body to remain calm.
  • Be the bigger person: by letting go of the need to fight fire with fire. You gain power in the conversation by holding back from responding to every outburst.
  • Actively listen: by calmly paraphrasing your counterpart’s argument to confirm that they have been heard and understood.
  • Demonstrate empathy: by acknowledging the difficulties faced by both parties.
  • Dig deeper: to establish the real reason the other person is frustrated especially if you are perceived as the cause.
  • Get some space: by stepping out of the situation for a walk in the fresh air if you find yourself getting angry or emotional and return when you’ve let out some steam.

Adapted from Harvard Business Review’s ‘How to cool down a heated conversation,” by Jeff Weiss and Huffpost’s “4 Steps to Diffuse an Argument Before It Even Starts” by Jennifer Twardowski


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