A negotiation will excel in terms of productivity, if you are capable of concentrating on issues and not individual persons. There are many different reasons why a negotiator may sometimes attack someone personally −
They think that behaving in this way, they will gain the upper hand.
They think that if their position is disagreed, it is a harm to their self esteem.
They may think that they are being treated unfairly or are being disrespected.
Sometimes, you can negate a personal attack by showing respect to the other parties and their positions from the very start of the negotiation. In addition, paying respect to your opponents in the beginning helps in setting a positive environment for the negotiation.
If your opponent negates your efforts for establishing an environment of mutual respect, you may say something like − “Let us not disperse our focus from the issues”. If the other party is stubborn enough and still attacks you personally, you may call for the suspension of the negotiation.
It would be a really pleasurable ambiance, if all the negotiators are compassionate, empathetic and friendly. However, the real world does not work in this way. Negotiations normally grow into aggressive situations.
You should most likely walk away from a negotiation, if you feel as if you are being threatened by the other party, or the other party makes you feel extremely uncomfortable in the negotiation process. Sometimes, the other party also implements unfair tactics to make it difficult to have a balanced and fair negotiation.
To go through a negotiation, it is not necessary that the two parties to have a friendly relation. However, it is essential for both the parties to keep the negotiation process away from the interference of personal conflicts and unfair tactics.