Tip #11: Staying Calm During Negotiations

By Younas Chaudhary

Haven’t we faced that awkward moment of silence when negotiating a deal? Every negotiation tests our patience and our resilience to stay calm. But how do you stay calm when things get heated up? Negotiations involve intense discussions and difficult conversations between two or more parties, and when we get consumed by our short-term needs and goals, we often get emotionally upset, talk a lot, and forget the big picture. And yet in business and in life, I have often observed that empty vessels make the loudest noises. Those who talk too much unwisely reveal their weaknesses and their desperation to close a deal.

As such, instead of showing desperation, you must take care to stay calm and well-poised. Doing so will help you build a stronger, more compelling argument and move you towards a winning deal. For instance, after reviewing detailed presentations, once you submit a proposal to the other side, be patient while they review it. If you are agitated, nervous, or insecure, the other party will sense it and take advantage of your emotional state.

For example, in a game of poker, players who reveal their emotional state through their body language invariably lose, even if they remain scrupulously quiet. By contrast, the best poker players have the best poker face!  They will be calm and collected under pressure and will not reveal anything through their body language.

Here is another example of the vital importance of staying calm, in the context of a successful property deal. Recently, my company sought to sell one of our investment properties for $1,000,000. There were only a few inquiries due to the COVID-19 slow down, but fortunately my broker found one party with an interest in buying it. During inspections, the buyer’s body language clearly displayed his eagerness to purchase this property. As a result, though he tried hard to negotiate a reduced price, I maintained my composure, controlled my words and my body language, and ultimately secured the price that we desired.

Here are a few tips to stay calm when negotiating a deal:Do your research well, read all the pertinent documents, and review all the supporting data.  

1. Have a clear conception of what you want, while leaving room for flexibility.

2. Talk less and listen more.

3. Stay emotionally detached from the outcome.

4. Remain calm and collective even as the conversation heats up.

5. Be patient when the other side is reviewing your initial offer, counteroffers, and final offer.

6. Never overreact and give the other side an emotional advantage over you.

Also remember—this is crucial:  Despite our best efforts in every respect, not every negotiation will come to a successful conclusion.  Therefore, when you find the discussions faltering, even on a deal in which you were keenly interested, you must remind yourself:  It is always better to end up with no deal than with a bad deal!

Find out more about me in my best-selling book “From Dirt Roads to Black Gold.” Note that 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of this book will help people in need through my foundation, the YBC Foundation.

Stay tuned for Blog 27 Tip 12: Data is the key to success


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated.  Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.