How You Can Use Patience To Overcome A Deadline In A Negotiation

Deadlines can be overcome if you have enough patience
Deadlines can be overcome if you have enough patience
Image Credit: Dean Shareski

Every negotiation is a battle of wits between two sides. The other side needs you to do what they want you to do and so they’ll be trying to use a number of different negotiation styles and negotiating techniques to make this happen. One technique that they may try to use on you is to present you with a deadline. When this happens, you need to respond with patience.

The Power Of Patience

Hopefully as a negotiator you understand the power of time during a negotiation. What we need to realize is that during a negotiation we need to take the time to fully understand what the other side’s wants are. By doing this we will make them desire to do a deal with us even more. Along with time comes the concept of patience. Patience just might be one of the most important characteristics of a negotiator who is successful.

One of the challenges that we deal with as negotiators is that patience is not something that seems to come naturally to us. We like it when things move fast and anything that delays the process seems to irritate us. When we enter into a negotiation we are almost completely focused on getting to the deal at the end. We want to get over any obstacles, have the other side agree with us, sign a deal, and then get on to the next thing that we have to work on. Patience has very little to do with the way that we prefer to negotiate.

This is why patience is something that we have to work hard at – we’re not very good at it. For some reason, for most of us, patience is not something that comes naturally to most of us. What we need to realize that patience is a valuable virtue when it comes to negotiating. We need to spend more time working on developing our ability to be patient during a negotiation.

How To Overcome A Deadline

The reason that patience is so important during a negotiation is because we often run into things that will slow the whole process down. Key among these are deadlines. The reason that the other side might use a deadline during a negotiation is because it gives them a way to take time away from you. When a deadline is presented to you, you’ll need to be skeptical. As with everything else in a negotiation, a deadline can be renegotiated.

Time is probably our most valuable tool when we are negotiating. Deadlines are designed to take this tool away from us. All too often when the other side presents us with a deadline we react just the way that they want us to: we start trying to meet their deadline. This is the wrong thing to do. We need to take a step back and question the deadline that has been presented to us. There are, of course, some deadlines that are real. However, you’ll find that most deadlines can easily be changed by the other side.

We need to keep in mind that during a negotiation, we can also use deadlines. We use deadlines to force the other side to take some action. One of the key reasons why we may use a deadline during a negotiation is to limit the actions that the other side can take during a negotiation by limiting the amount of time that they have. One such thing that we want to eliminate is their ability to look for other people that they could do a deal with.

What All Of This Means For You

Negotiations are a match between you and the other side. You both show up with a list of things that you’d like to be able to get out of the principled negotiation and you are going to be looking for ways to get the other side to agree to what you want. One of the most powerful tools that can be used is a deadline.

As negotiators we need to understand that time is a valuable resource during a negotiation. The more time that we have the better deal that we can expect to be able to reach with the other side. To get the deal that we want means that we’re going to have to show some patience. We’re generally not good at this. Patience is a virtue and we need to work at getting better at it. When we are presented with a deadline during a negotiation, we need to practice patience and understand that deadlines, just like everything else, can be negotiated. Deadlines are not just something that the other side will present to us – we can use them also. We use them to limit the other side’s options and move them closer to making a deal with us.

We’d all like to think that we have the skills that we need to become a great negotiator. However, the truth is that we can all use a little help to become better. Patience is something that we need to work on. Patience is especially important when the other side uses a deadline. Deadlines are not necessarily real, but we do need to deal with them. The next time you face a deadline, be patient and work with the other side to find a way around it.

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

Question For You: If the other side presents you with a deadline, should you then turn around and present them you’re your own deadline?

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

What do you think the other side of the table is looking to get out of their negotiation with you? A lower price? More quantity? Better delivery dates? These may all be true, but deep down inside what the other side wants to walk away from the table after all of the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques have been put away is with a feeling of satisfaction – a job well done. In order to make this happen, they are going to have to be left with the feeling that they were able to get a bargain. Do you know how to make this happen?