Bonus Lesson - How to De-Escalate
How to de-escalate, oh phone, previous phone question?
Yes and it is, how many emails do you normally give as the threshold? If you haven't done this within two or three emails, time to call or more personal contact, do you have that sorta thing established?
I don't have a hard and fast number, but it's a good question. I would say, I would actually say if they haven't requested a phone call by two or three emails, I don't think that we're the right fit. Right like if they've sent two or three emails back and forth, all these questions where they're already negotiating on budget, I think you know they probably don't have the budget or this is not going to be a good fit because I that's not just how we work. They haven't asked for a phone call. So I usually might even say like you know, I kinda let them, I'll take a step back at that point. That's my preference again. Any other questions on email before we move on? Now let's talk about de-escalating. So occasionally unfortunately so...
metimes you get into negotiation and emotions get piqued. What do you do? Let's look at the science first of anger. Anger is usually the one that if we're gonna escalate that's usually what happens first. So interesting science about anger, and I thought really hard about teaching this slide, but I think it's important for you guys to know the science. One, first study, Journal of Applied Psychology. Anger does influence people to make more concessions. There was a correlation that when people got angry, it made the other side give up more. However this study was people were like oh it's good to get angry. All these you know pop psy articles came out, yell in your next interview. (audience laughing) It was like oh my god. So they did a follow-up study, study number two. Yes, anger does produce concessions, that was verified. However, it also led to more retaliatory actions later. So it was a short-term win for a long-term lose. So anger I don't think is ever worth it. Even if you say to me oh Vanessa it's just a one time negotiation, I still don't think it's worth it. So here's what I try to do when I'm trying to de-escalate from anger. There's a couple different things scientifically speaking. Labeling it, so Matthew Lieberman at UCLA found that the moment you name an emotion, it lowers that emotional activity in the brain. You can do this for yourself. So you can say gosh I feel really frustrated, and that actually helps your brain be like, oh I've been seen and hard, kinda like angry toddlers. They're like see me, see me. The moment you say I see you, it's like okay. (audience laughing) Kinda the same thing in the brain a little bit. So once you name it, it works out. This works for you as well as for them. So if you see escalation happening, the first thing I would actually say is call out what you see, very gently. So you can say, I am so sorry this is frustrating, I know this is really frustrating. I completely understand how infuriating this is. I know I'm just as frustrated as you. I know how difficult this must be. I know that we, we wanna get angry about this but I think we have to stick to the facts. The moment you name that word, it often makes them realize, a lotta people don't even realize they've gone into anger, it makes them realize oh I've come across as a little angry, right. So naming it can help them self-recognize and tame it. It's the first thing I want you to try. Second thing, take a breather. Right if that does not work and you're in a professional setting and you've just named or labeled an emotion and it does not help, they keep going, this is the time where professionally you want to try to add a pause. So this could be, you know what, I gotta get some water, I'm gonna run to the bathroom, could we just take a quick break? Can be very small as that. That also gives them a moment to be like, do I like the way this negotiation is going? I think I might've just yelled at someone. Let's go back to an area. So we can say you know what, let's pause here for a second. Even just saying the word pause can help bring a little bit of calm to the room. Let's go back to the yes ladder. Now we call it the yes ladder, but let's go back to some things we can agree upon, and that's when you hop back on the calm topics. Or silence. I have very rarely been yelled at in a meeting negotiation, but it has happened, and usually it's when someone like exclaims in frustration at something. Almost always I will let it sit. Have you ever had an outburst and then no one replies, it kinda echoes. You know what I mean, it reverberates throughout the room. So if someone says something or does something or yells inappropriately, I will usually be like. Right like showing them like whoa, that just happened and I just wait. Let them say, whoa I'm sorry about that. They will often kinda roll it back, and if they don't I know I never wanna work with them again. So give them a silence, give them a pause. Those are a couple way we can take a break. Here's the point, and I just said I know I'll not wanna work with that person again, I believe that escalation is a very important signal for possibly a client you don't wanna have or a hire you don't wanna have or a partner you don't wanna have. This is the moment where you decide, it's worth working through it with this person or this is not the kinda partnership I wanna have. So I don't want you to write this down on your sheet, but it is good to know in the BATNAs, like what makes you walk away. If someone curses at you in the first meeting, that might be a deal breaker for you. Or not, right. For me that would probably be a deal breaker. So it's important to think about like what are those deal breakers, or like when you're interacting with clients emotionally and they yell at their spouse, is that an indicator for you of this is not what a client that I wanna have? Right so there's a couple of ones that you can think of for emotionally what that would do. Last one, use the high road. Never match anger for anger. It never works to try to mirror and match verbally in that way. We talked about non-verbally matching, not with anger, only for positive and the neutral. So I will typically try to go back to the end goal. I stay neutral. Oftentimes I'll just reschedule, right like, you know what this has gotten crazy, let's do this another day. It's late in the day, we all gotta go to lunch, we're all hungry. Like you know let's pick this up later in the week, how bout that? I will often do that. Remind them you always have a plan B. This is also something you can say of like look like clearly we're on different pages here. I'm happy to go with someone else, I'm happy to maybe this isn't the best way of working together. That's the last final straw of saying, I'm about to take my work away or we're not gonna work together unless you calm yourself down. That can also work as well. Any questions on de-escalation before we move on? Yes, a mic.
So to sort of tie in the other segment with the email, like de-escalating in person versus de-escalating in an email. So I have a particular professional relationship that this person is very gets very upset very easily, and in email is very combative. And usually my go-to because I tend to be a little bit more passive, is I will just basically not respond. And then usually what ends up, we end up texting one another and it's all cool and it's fine. So I guess is there like a de-escalation tactic for someone like that with email because we do end up in the email a lot?
Yes very common. So actually silence or not replying is an okay way of being like, I don't respond to these kind of emails. Right so I actually like that tactic. I, if I were you, I would sit down with this person, since it seems like a long-term relationship, and ask, and I would say you know, I just took this course. Use me as an excuse. We were talking about email back and forth, and I love email, like it's my favorite way of communicating. Is that what you like? If we ever get into like you know one of those kinda tough situations, should we just make a plan to call each other or text each other? Like is that better for you? I'd be curious to hear what they would say about that so at least when that's happening, you can reply back and say, hey I think this is one of those situations where you might wanna call or might wanna text. And that way you've already laid the foundation for like I don't do this. I like email, but I don't do this. Yeah that's what I would try.
So you talk about de-escalation, but you talk about non-negotiables. You have your non-negotiables that you walk in with.
And then also thinking about not every deal is to be had.
Going in with that type of attitude, do you think that will be arrogant knowing what you want? Would it come through your? Talk about that.
So there is, I did not mention the word non-negotiables this whole course, and there's a reason for that. I think that non-negotiables do, they are limiting. Right I know how I was talking about creating freedom, creating abundance, I think that going in with lots of non-negotiables actually can blind you to areas that you might actually be a little bit negotiable on. And this is something I've changed my opinion on. I used to believe in non-negotiables. I used to have non-negotiables that I would write down, like I will not, I will not, I will not. But then a couple of times I was either convinced or accidentally things happened where I was like, you know like, not such a bad thing. I'll give you a really specific example. I used to say, I do a corporate speaking event plus travel, and I used to be like I will never do my own travel, right like I think it's always more than I think. Flights are always more. I always end up like the taxes are more, Uber you know, has a super charge. I'm always gonna make sure that I do travel separate. And then one time I was offered a decent rate, little higher than my actual rate. They said look this is it. Like you do your own travel. I was like ugh. And I did it because I really wanted to go visit a friend in that city. (audience laughing) There was a friend in that city who had just had a baby. I really wanted to see her, so I was like okay I'm gonna do it. And I loved it. (audience laughing) I loved it, I was like no receipts, no tracking, I can bring my Trader Joe's meals on the plane, I don't even have to worry about buying airplane meals. And so I realized this non-negotiable actually was hurting me more, and I had like really angered I think some partners by demanding they cover travel when it actually wasn't that big of a deal. So I think that non-negotiables are not my favorite thing, because I do think that going in limits you. I think there's a piece of it that limits you.
Non-negotiable with benefits.
Non-negotiable with benefits, yes exactly. Yes.
Some people use anger as a tactic, they know they're coming, it's not a spontaneous move, but they come in and they just wanna be bull-headed all the time.
Yeah that absolutely happened. I think it's people who have read that first study and not the second study. I personally try not to work with those people as much as possible, and I will actually say to them, whoa whoa whoa whoa. You know I really wanna work with you on this, but this is a little intense. Can we just take it down a notch? I will often say that if I have a really intense person. If they refuse, I will then just negotiate with them on email. So like anger usually happens non-verbally in person, sometimes on the phone. Email it's a little bit harder to yell at someone, right like all caps. Also all caps don't bother me as much as yelling. Right like except for my (audience laughing) okay so that would be a deal breaker for you. For me I'm like oh he's probably yelling and it was all caps, but like it doesn't affect me as much. So either I would change the method of communication or I would gently call them on it and say like, you know I don't do that. Or I would say this is not a kinda person I wanna work with. So sort of three options for you, and there are people who do that, especially in the legal field.