Greg Williams

By Greg Williams

“How To Think Quickly In A Scary Crisis” – Negotiation Insight

“How To Think Quickly In A Scary Crisis” – Negotiation Insight 150 150 Greg Williams, MN, CSP

“A scary crisis can create stress. Thinking quickly can avert it.” – Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)



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“How To Think Quickly In A Scary Crisis”

“The first thought I had was, am I going to die?” Those were the words a lady recounted to her friend. She was referring to a scary situation she feared would become a #crisis. It happened when she was at a bank and two men walked in. They hollered, “this is a stick-up!”

Hopefully, you’ve never had such an experience. But if one were to occur, what would you do? I know that depends on the specific situation and circumstances. But what do you think your initial thoughts might be? If you’re considering that, you’re doing what you should do to confront a potential crisis – prepare for it ahead of time.

This article will help you think about how to prepare for such occurrences if one should befall you.


Thinking Ahead:

When you’re threatened, your body goes into a fight or flight response. During that time, you make snap judgments about the action you’ll take. Upon hindsight, those actions may not be rational.

In a potential crisis, to limit irrational actions consider how you might act/react before entering them. You might note exit doors, hiding places, and resources that can aid you. Some of the resources might be other people that share your plight. Be strategic in your thoughts and planning.

The more prepared you are for a crisis, the better your response will be. And that could turn out to be a lifesaver.


Fight, Flight, Freeze:

When you’re threatened, you begin an evaluation process to assess the threat and the best course of action to take. The problem is, the clock doesn’t stop ticking during that time. You can’t call a timeout. And the situation could escalate during your deliberations.

Most people are aware of the fight or flight response. It occurs when we become fearful. But there’s another possible response to consider. It’s called the freeze response. It’s somewhat like the ‘shelter in place’ command. During that time, you limit your movement. That’s an attempt to lessen attention to yourself. It’ll limit your possible exposure and harm. Note the differences between the ‘shelter in place’ and freeze response. In the latter, you make no movement at all.

Never overlook the potential usage of the freeze response. It’s another tool that could be your lifesaver. Plan for the possibility of its use. If you know through calculations when it might be most applicable, you’ll be more flexible in the actions you adopt … and everything will be right with the world.


What does this have to do with negotiations?


Very seldom does a negotiation escape some form of crisis. They may be small or large depending on what’s at stake. But nevertheless, if they create trauma for you or the other negotiator, you’ll seek a plausible solution to them. Thus, during your planning stage of the negotiation, consider the actions you’ll adopt to confront troublesome situations. You should also consider what might cause them to escalate and how you’ll defuse them.

A crisis in a negotiation usually evolves over time – it doesn’t happen suddenly. Therefore, you can see it coming. When you sense a crisis is gathering strength, address it with a prepared action. That action might consist of the fight, flight, or freeze response. That means you’d dig in your heels (fight), choose to end the negotiation – or call a timeout (flight or freeze), or do nothing (freeze). You’d adopt a ‘freeze state’ to see what the other negotiator might do from that point.

In any negotiation, the options you adopt to address situations determine the flow and outcome of the negotiation. A crisis is the greatest threat to a successful negotiation outcome. It can derail a negotiation. Thus, the better prepared you are to address it, the greater control you’ll have over and during the negotiation.


Remember, you’re always negotiating!


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