Tiffany Watt Smith is a cultural historian specializing in the history of emotions. In 2015, she wrote this insightful book, which explores the cultural histories and politics of 154 different emotions. I see it to be somewhat of a negotiator’s essential guide to emotions.


  1. By providing a comprehensive definition of 156 different emotions, the author helps us gain insights about the nature of different feelings and why we feel them.
  2. By paying attention to our emotions, we can truly understand ourselves
  3. When we better understand what Confidence, Anger, Calm, Uncertainty, etc. are, we can then focus on better recognizing and managing them in ourselves and others
  4. For those who were still doubting about the impact of cultural differences in negotiation, the book offers definitions for some Japanese, French and German emotions, for instance, that don’t even have translations in English
  5. Not only are emotions often culture and/or language specific, but they also have social and historical influences



Fear is one of the most primal and fundamental human emotions. Our instinctual reactions to fear are often hardwired, as opposed to consciously chosen – eyes widens, muscles swell ready for action, the heart beats rapidly, breathing becomes shallow or held. As adrenaline surges “Fight or Flee” response kicks in, which in turn derails rational thought, ability to think creatively, listen, etc. All bad news as far as negotiation ability is concerned. Fear is a very common response to people even just thinking about negotiating. So it is an important emotion to get a handle on, as it can be totally debilitating and sabotage your ability in a high-stakes situation. But it can also be one of our greatest allies that is life-saving and energizing, promoting behaviours such as diligence and caution.

Learn more about “Overcoming the Fear of Negotiating” in our upcoming Webinar. Click here to register. It’s FREE.


From the Latin con (with) and fidence (faith), these words ‘earliest uses were associated with the feeling of trust in divine support. It is now more commonly used to define trust in oneself (or depending on your belief system, one’s “higher self”).

Self-trust is an essential part of a negotiator’s mindset and we explore this topic in great detail in our development course.


Anger is an unruly class of emotion. It includes simmering resentment, tantrums (read: table banging and offensive language) and sudden flares of rage. It can be frighteningly contained, or else frenzied and violent. It can become abusive, ruining our most important relationships.

“I wish you’d get angry, so that we could have it out, so we could get it out in the open”, says Diane Keaton in Woody Allen’s movie Manhattan.

This is a key emotion for a negotiator to get to know intimately – understand its triggers, recognize its physical symptoms as its flows intensely through the body and mind, and learn how to manage it constructively. Anger is common in the negotiation environment, where there are differences to bridge. Getting up-close and personal with our own and our counterpart’s anger, is every negotiator’s great challenge to master.

In summary, this is a brilliant reference guide for any negotiator, who understands that all decision making is driven by emotions and justified with logic. Without understanding your own and your counterpart’s emotions you’re trying to play a game (often with high-stakes), where you don’t understand the rules.

Learn more about “Overcoming the Fear of Negotiating” in our upcoming Webinar. Click here to register. It’s FREE.

"Imagine a world where the men in business not only come home with more value in the deal, but with a new sense of trust and respect as a society?"

Fabian Courtaux, Trusted Negotiator