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Solo In Chicago

...empowering the Second City's entrepreneurial legal community

Monday, June 30, 2008

Get Inside Their Heads not Their Hearts

I saw this little nugget in a recent edition of The Economist. It was a study by Adam Galinsky over at Northwestern that looked at two related approaches often used in negotiations: perspective-taking and empathy. Although the terms are often used interchangeably they're actually different. Perspective-taking is the cognitive power to consider the world from someone else's viewpoint, whereas empathy is the power to connect with them emotionally.

Which was more successful your lawyer/negotiators???

The results of the three studies imply that perspective-taking is a useful trait to have and a useful approach to take in negotiations, and that empathy, although helpful in many types of social interactions, can be detrimental both for creating integrative solutions and promoting one’s own self-interest.

“Negotiators give themselves an advantage by thinking about what is motivating the other party, by getting inside their head” Galinsky said. “Perspective-taking gives you insights into how to structure a deal that can benefit both parties. But unfortunately in negotiations, empathizing makes you more concerned about making the other party happy, which can sometimes come at your own expense.”

So learn your opponents perspective but don't be too squishy.


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