Negotiators have to know to to make time work for them, not against them

Negotiators have to know to to make time work for them, not against them
Image Credit: Dirk Knight

One of the first things that all of us learn about negotiating is that in the end after we get over all of the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques being used, it’s all about time. There is only so much time to conduct a negotiation You only have so much time, the other side only has so much time, etc. Very quickly we all start to realize that time is a tool and whichever side uses this tool the best will probably end up getting what they want out of the negotiation. The big question is how to make this happen?

The True Power Of Time

As negotiators we need to take the time to learn how to use time as the ultimate negotiating weapon. As we all know, every negotiation goes through a number of different phases. Each one of these phases will have it’s own time element associated with it. Our goal as negotiators always has to be to make sure that we don’t find ourselves being forced to operate under somebody else’s time limitations. If you can avoid this happening to you, then you’ll be well positioned to make time your weapon to wield.

One great example of how time can be used by you as a weapon is when you have a good understanding of what time means to the other side of the table. If you discover that they are in a situation where there is a specific time that they must have this negotiation wrapped up by, then your strategy needs to take this into account. Specifically, what you are going to have to do is to put off negotiating in earnest until the last possible moment. By doing this you’ll ensure that the other side of the table will be the most vulnerable to having to accept your proposals.

The thing that we all need to understand about time is that it can quickly change from being an ally to being a foe if we are not careful. What this means for us is that during a negotiation, we have the added responsibility to make sure that we are always aware of what time it is. It can be all too easy for the time that we have to slip away from us and then we’ll find ourselves involved in a completely different negotiation.

How To Get Time To Behave The Way That You Want It To

Knowing that time can be a powerful force in a negotiation is one thing. Knowing how to use time to get what you want out of a negotiation is a completely separate thing. One of the most important things that we need to realize is that to get the most value out of our time, we need to learn how to both lengthen it and shorten it.

When it comes to using time in a negotiation, you are the one who has the control over it. What you need to be fully aware of are the tools that you use to control your time. There are three tools that every negotiator uses to control time during a negotiation: delays, deadlines, and deadlocks.

Delays can be one of the most effective tools that we use to control time during a negotiation. Using a delay we can force the other side of the table to eventually come around to reaching an agreement with us simply because they’ve become so tired of waiting for us. Your job as a negotiator is to determine which tool to use at which time during the negotiation. At the same time you’ll need to be keeping your eyes open and make sure that the other side is not using them against you!

What All Of This Means For You

One of the most powerful forces that will be at play in any principled negotiation that you participate in is time. There never seems to be enough of it and it shapes the actions of both sides of the table. If you want to get what you need out of your next negotiation, you are going to have to learn how to make time work for you.

The first thing that you need to realize that every negotiation is made up of multiple phases and each of these phases will have a time element associated with it. You always need to be searching for ways that you can transform time into a weapon that you can use to control your negotiation. Delays are closely associated with a negotiation’s use of time and you need to learn how best to use them. Along with this you’ll need to be able to master deadlines and deadlocks. You will always have to be keeping your eyes open so that the other side is not permitted to start to use time against you.

Knowing the important role that time will play in a negotiation is the key to finding ways of mastering it. You need to realize that the other side will be trying to do the same thing and so you’ll have to always be taking steps to prevent them from doing this. Get good at using your tools to both stretch out and compress time and you’ll be able to control how the negotiation both proceeds and concludes.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: If you discover that the other side is trying to use time against you, what steps should you take?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Negotiator Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Negotiator Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I believe that it pretty much goes without saying that the goal of any negotiation is to eventually reach an agreement with the other side of the table. It’s how we are able to reach that agreement despite all of the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that are being used that can at times be so very challenging. When we talk with the really good negotiators, they always have the same thing to say: getting that big final commitment can only be achieved by getting a series of smaller commitments. Now all we have to do is figure out how to accomplish this.

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There is a difference between risk and calculated risk

There is a difference between risk and calculated risk
Image Credit: GotCredit

The simple life is not what negotiators have going for them. Instead, the world in which we find ourselves living in is a complicated place filled with many negotiation styles and negotiating techniques along with different things that can trip us up at any moment. It is this world that we need to come up with ways to not only survive, but to also thrive. What this means is that we need to learn how to take calculated risks.

What Are Calculated Risks

In my book, a negotiation is all about “winning” – getting what you want to get out of the negotiation. In order to make that happen, you are going to have to be willing to play. This means that at different points in time you are going to have to be willing to take risks. How you actually go about taking these risks is the key to determining how your negotiation is going to turn out.

If you have not taken the time to fully evaluate both the risk and the potential reward for the risk that you are preparing to take, then you are probably being reckless. This is never a good thing. On the other hand, a calculated risk is a different beast. It may be worth taking if, and only if, you are going to be both willing and able to live with the consequences.

What this means for you is that there is always the possibility that the calculated risk that you are willing to take may not turn out the way that you want it to. Prior to taking the risk, you need to first evaluate what will happen to your negotiating position if you lose this risk. Will it destroy your position or will you still be able to recover and walk away with a deal that you can live with?

How Can We Use Calculated Risks To Be Successful?

Understanding what a calculated risk is is a key place to start. Now what you have to learn is just exactly how to go about using calculated risks to improve your negotiating position. One of the things that you can do is to determine what the other side of the table is trying to do. If you see that they are trying to drag the negotiations out and delay the closing, then a calculated risk on your part would be to push them to close the negotiations now – take it or leave it.

Many times a negotiated risk shows up when the other side offers it to you. When this happens, you are going to have to take a step back and look at what has been offered to you very carefully. One of the biggest factors that you’ll have to take into consideration are the risk factors involved in your calculated risk. What you are trying to determine is if things don’t go the way that you are counting on them going, can you live with those results?

Having the ability to spot calculated risks when they appear in a negotiation is an important skill to have. If you have the ability to see a calculated risk, then you’ll also have the ability to consider the situation that you find this risk in. This will provide you with the ability to determine if it is a risk that you are going to be willing to take at this point in time. A negotiator who has the courage to take risks will always have an advantage over those who lack the courage to do so.

What All Of This Means For You

The distance between where you start in a principled negotiation and where you want to end up can often to seem to be very long, and in some cases almost insurmountable. However, good negotiators know that anything is possible as long as they have the skills to achieve it. In order to get to where you want to be in a negotiation, you are going to have to learn how to take some calculated risks.

There is a very big difference between taking a risk and taking a calculated risk. A risk means that there is a good chance that you’ll end up failing. A calculated risk means that you’ve weighted the odds and you feel as though you are going to be successful. Because there is always a possibility that even a calculated risk may not pan out, as a negotiator you need to make sure that you are going to be willing to live with the results no matter what they are.

When we engage in negotiating, we have to play to win. It would be wonderful and we could predict the action that the other side would take to any proposal that we make to them. However, we can’t. This is when the art of taking calculated risks comes in to play. If we can master how to do this correctly, then we’ll improve our odds of being able to get what we want out of our next negotiation.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: What signs do you think would tell you that now was not the time to take a calculated risk?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Negotiator Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Negotiator Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

One of the first things that all of us learn about negotiating is that in the end after we get over all of the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques being used, it’s all about time. There is only so much time to conduct a negotiation You only have so much time, the other side only has so much time, etc. Very quickly we all start to realize that time is a tool and whichever side uses this tool the best will probably end up getting what they want out of the negotiation. The big question is how to make this happen?

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