Interview with Hal Movius, president of Movius Consulting and senior consultant to The Consensus Building Institute
What are your main areas of research?
Lately I’m interested how we can help people to negotiate with greater emotional and behavioral confidence, without becoming cognitively blinded. There’s a fair amount of research on how judgmental overconfidence can worsen conflict, but very little on why most of us dread negotiating, even though it is a critical life skill. While there are self-assessment tools that people use to categorize their negotiating styles, these are largely useless because 1) people don’t realize how powerful and varied situations can be, and therefore how varied their own behaviors will be, and 2) many people respond in self-enhancing ways, claiming to be assertive or collaborative when in fact the modal human response to conflict is avoidance. So I’m in interested in taking apart what it means to be “confident” and what it means to “negotiate,” so we can help people be less frightened and more competent, without falling prey to common self-serving biases and other errors in judgment.