Facts Negotiators Should Know About Time

Say Hello To A Negotiator's Biggest Problem
Say Hello To A Negotiator’s Biggest Problem

When you are getting ready for your next negotiation, you might want to spend some time thinking about the most important item that you need to make sure that is in order. I’m not talking about your notes, the location of the negotiations, or even the strategy that you’ve mapped out for the negotiations. What I’m talking about it the time of day at which the negotiations will be held. It turns out that this may be the single most important factor in determining how the negotiations turn out…

The Power Of When

Among all of the other things that you need to worry about, the question of what time of day the negotiations will be occurring at can easily get swept under the rug. One of the ways that this can happen is if you have to travel to the negotiations.

When we get on a plane and fly to another destination, we can easily travel through one or more time zones. What this means is that although the clock on the wall says that it’s one time, our bodies are telling us that it is a completely different time. Guess what – in these types of conflicts, our body always wins!

As humans, our bodies are set up to operate on a daily schedule. If we do something to change that schedule, it can throw our body off track and that will impair our thinking ability.

Studies have shown that we perform best during normal working hours: roughly 8am to 7pm. We perform at our worst during the times that we should all be sleeping, 2am to 6am.

What You Can Do To Make “When” Work For You

Unless you control the world (and who does?), you often don’t control when and where your next negotiating session will occur. This presents a dilemma because if you’re not careful, the negotiating environment will be set up so that you won’t be performing at your peak.

In order to counter the challenge of trying to negotiate in a time shifted environment, you need to take several steps to improve your odds of being successful. The first of these is to simply attempt to ensure that the negotiations will occur in your time zone.

This can be done by limiting the number of locations that you are willing to travel to and ensuring that they all operate on the same time that you do. If this is not possible, then it is now an option to do your negotiating over the phone, or even better via video conferencing. These are not ideal solutions; however, they will allow you to avoid the challenges of upsetting your body clock.

Finally, if you do have to travel to a location that is outside of your normal time zone then you need to be aware that you’re going to be doing this before the negotiations start. The people who research such things believe that you need a day per shifted time zone in order to fully adjust your body to the local time. Rarely do we get the luxury of so much time; however, ensuring that you have a least a day to adjust will ensure that you are in the best form possible when you start your next negotiating session.

What All Of This Means For You

No matter how good of a negotiator you are, you are still human. This means that your body has a natural rhythm to it. You need to account for this rhythm when you are planning your next negotiation.

Realizing that you have good times and bad times to negotiate are key to picking the best time to start a negotiation. You need to keep in mind that if you have had to travel to a different time zone in order to negotiate, you’re going to have to give yourself time to adjust to the local time.

History is littered with examples of negotiators who disregarded their own physical limits when agreeing to start a negotiation. Don’t allow your name to be added to this list – know when your best time to negotiate is.

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

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Are you familiar with the “shell game”? You know, it’s the one that they show in the movies all the time where the street hustler sets up a table with three shells of some sort on it. He proceeds to put a pea under one of the shells, shuffles them, and then asks passers by to bet on which shell has the pea under it. Guess what – nobody can ever guess the correct shell. In sales negotiations we’ve got the same game that we play, but we call it the 80/20 rule.