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Intuitive Negotiating

By JemmaBlythe Alexander Shelton-Spurr (JB Shelton)

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Who do you trust? If your immediate reaction was myself, you’re blessed. You have a natural proclivity toward intuitive negotiating. Do you consider your decisive actions based on intuition to be courageous moves? Congratulations: They are, indeed.

Courage of Your Contradictions

Negotiation gurus expound upon the need for copious research and planning as pre-determiners of how you’ll succeed in a negotiation. They do not often give credit or credence to that little voice in the back of your head that, curiously enough, can serve as the logical and final influence on your decisions.

Examine your positive experiences in negotiations where your intuition may have overridden your logic and research, and nonetheless brought about your success. Consider whether you were fortunate in a rare instance or can proudly point out noteworthy experiences.

Sharing your negotiating successes, where intuition brought about good results, is an excellent technique for transforming those questioning stares into agreeable team spirit.

Trust me, I just know,” will not automatically inspire your colleagues’ confidence. Intuition can elucidate the crowning moments of individual stages of a negotiation. Your intuition is, of course, intertwined with facts you’ve absorbed and decisions you’re made. It is one vital part of a multi-faceted decision-making process.

Meeting of the Minds

As an interim step, ask your colleagues to tap into their own intuitions about the current negotiation. If there’s a meeting of the minds/guts, go with it. Let them share professional examples of their intuitive successes as well.

Chances are members of your negotiating team have used intuition successfully to solve problems and move issues along when they were not in a formal negotiating situation. Those instances, too, will provide more comfortable and enthusiastic reactions to using intuition in the meeting room.

Art and Science

Negotiating is both an art and a science. Intuition logically belongs in the art category, being more creative, imaginative and feeling-based than the science of fact gathering, analyzing and organizing. Fixation on the facts can distract from attempts to negotiate intuitively. Playing the objective observer will enhance your ability to get in touch with your intuitive side.

Getting in touch with your intuition is mental, emotional and physical. Your mental mindset needs to be relaxed, receptive and inventive. Your emotional baggage must be unpacked. Your physical tightness and tension require taking time to exercise your body, calm down, breathe deeply and meditate to feel peacefully focused. If you are in the daily habit of walking or running, you may experience an intuitive aha! moment of clarity at the end of your workout.

Suspecting Your Intuition is Incorrect

When is it wise not to rely on your intuition?

  • When you have not fully explored all the facts
  • When you are emotionally involved and not thinking clearly
  • When you feel afraid or unsure about making a decision
  • When you’re involved in a deadlocked situation and just want a conclusion

Body Language and Mindreading

Knowing how to read your opponents’ body language can provide a wealth of information for your intuition. Explore beyond his words to the confidence he shows or doesn’t show – poor posture, lack of eye contact, fidgety body parts Let your intuition tell you whether you are in a stronger position than you thought you were; do not hesitate to increase your demands.

Women’s Intuition

An insightful description of intuition comes from commentator Abella Arthur. “Intuition is a combination of historical (empirical) data, deep and heightened observation, and an ability to cut through the thickness of surface reality. Intuition is like a slow motion machine that captures data instantaneously and hits you like a ton of bricks. Intuition is a knowing, a sensing that is beyond the conscious understanding – a gut feeling. Intuition is not pseudo-science.”

Ms. Arthur and I make no claims that as women our intuitive powers outshine those of the male gender. I firmly believe, however, that females are more in touch with the emotional aspects of life, particularly in communicating with other people. Valuable to intuitive abilities is the ability to listen, to care enough to consider what someone is talking about, and to listen to head and heart in responding.

JB Shelton Photo
JemmaBlythe Alexander Shelton-Spurr (JB Shelton) is a journalist based in Raleigh and Oxford, NC. She writes about children growing up and grownups reinventing themselves. JB teaches Professional Negotiating Skills: Transforming Life’s Challenges into Win-Win Results at Duke University in Durham, NC.  Angel in Your Mirror: Musings from the Curly Mind of JB Shelton-Spurr is available on Contact her at [email protected].

Copyright © 2013 JemmaBlythe Alexander Shelton-Spurr
Copyright ©   2013  The Negotiator Magazine
The Negotiator Magazine  December 2013 – January 2014