When You Control The Pace Of A Negotiation, You Control The Negotiation

by drjim on August 7, 2015

In order to control the negotiation, you need to control the pace…

In order to control the negotiation, you need to control the pace…

Image Credit: Maciek

Ultimately, any negotiation is about control. Who has it, who wants it, who is getting it. You want to be the one who is in control of your next negotiation no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques are being used. However, how to make that happen is always the big question. It turns out that it’s actually pretty easy to seize control of your negotiation: all you have to do is to control its pace.

The Role That Pace Plays In A Negotiation

It’s very easy for a negotiation to get away from you. Everything starts off normally and then things just seem to pick up speed. The discussions just seem to move very quickly, there are a lot of back-and-forth making of concessions and things appear to be rocketing along. As a negotiator, just about now you should start to become concerned. Negotiations are tricky beasts and if they go too fast there is the real possibility that you might either miss or forget something important. You need to seize control of this fast moving negotiation.

In order to do this, what you need to do is to slow things down. The easiest way to accomplish this is to identify an issue that is being negotiated and use it to grind things to a halt. Look, in the end you’re probably going to give in on this issue. However, for now what you want to do is have a lot of discussion with the other side about it. This will completely change the pace of the negotiations and that will put control of the negotiations firmly in your hands.

If it turns out that there is not an issue that you can use to slow things down, then you do have an alternative. What you can do is bring a topic that was not originally on the agenda into the negotiations. By doing this you will disrupt the negotiations and this new issue will have to be dealt with. The end result will be that once again you’ve taken control and slowed the negotiations down. Note that you probably don’t really care about the new issue that you’ve introduced and so you’ll eventually be willing to give it up or let it go.

What To Do When The Other Side Wants To Control The Pace

During a negotiation that you are involved in, you may discover that the other side is trying to take control of the negotiations by slowing things down. The negotiation may have been moving along very quickly when all of a sudden you are confronted with a change in behavior by the other side.

What you don’t want to allow to happen is to hand control of the negotiations over to them. When you detect that they are trying to change the pace of the negotiations, you need to move quickly. What you are going to want to do here is call them on their actions. This means that you are going to want to question what they are doing. Don’t let their actions pass by unnoticed.

You are going to want to let them know that you’ve been pleased with how the negotiations have been going. You want to know what has changed – why are they trying to delay things? You’ll need to keep in mind that there may be a very good reason for them to want to delay things. It could be a personal issue (medical issues, family issues, etc.) or work related (important people on vacation, reorganization, etc.). You need to get to the bottom of what is going on so that you can once again take back control of the negotiations.

What All Of This Means For You

In order to get the deal that you want out of your next principled negotiation, you are going to have to discover how to control the negotiations. One way to make this happen is to take control of the pace of the negotiations. By doing this, you can determine how the negotiation proceeds.

When you take control of a negotiation’s pace, you can slow it down. When you slow it down you buy yourself more time to think about the deal that you have on the table before you. You can also bring something else into the negotiations in order to slow things down. You don’t need to get agreement on this new item, it just serves to slow things down. If the other side uses this tactic on you, ask them why they are slowing things down.

All too often we can feel as though we either don’t have any or simply don’t have enough control in a negotiation in which we are participating. By taking control of the pace of the negotiation, we can get the control that we need in order to get the deal that we want. Use these suggestions the next time that you are negotiating and get the results that you are looking for…

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

Question For You: Do you think that it’s possible to have a negotiation move too slowly?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

In every negotiation we can reach a point where we’re done. We’ve said what we needed to say. We’ve made all of the concessions that we plan on making. We think that the other side has given us as much as they are going to give us. Investing any more time in this negotiation or using any more negotiation styles or negotiating techniques would be foolish. We need to let the other side know that now is the time for them to make a decision – do they want to do a deal or not?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Eric Gonzalez August 10, 2015 at 10:48 am

Controlling the pace is extremely important. Customers are often prepared with the financial calculations and overall sequence of demands. The problem with negotiating a sequence of individual demands is that they can potentially add up to more than what you want to give. Controlling the pace is often a matter of keeping your mouth shut until all the demands have been issued. Then, go back at your own pace and negotiate one by one, keeping the big picture under control.

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drjim August 13, 2015 at 4:29 pm

Eric: You bring up a very good point — being successful in a negotiation is all about understanding what the big picture is. If you can take the time to listen to what the other side wants, then you’ll have a good understanding of what will be need to be covered during the negotiations…

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