I attended a negotiation course recently. It was the toughest course I’d ever attended.

Here’s some context: The nature of my work is to form partnerships with external companies. Most of my partnerships are pleasant: Both parties are excited to work with each other, and everyone tries their best to make things work. The “negotiations” are easy, they’re safe, and everyone walks away feeling great. 

But during my negotiation course, we had to do several role-plays which were deliberately structured for tension and conflict. I was challenged to make ridiculous demands. Or I would have to control my emotions while the other party aggressively pushed me. These situations really made me sweat. 

Most of us aren’t used to these sort of negotiations. We don’t like conflict. We want the person we’re dealing with to like us. I started wondering: Is this even relevant to my work? Do I REALLY want to appear like