“Are You Cruel When You Weaponize Time In Your Negotiation“
For the last three months, the two teams negotiated fiercely against each other – they were vicious – they lost the pretense of civility after the first month. At times, flared tempers had driven them to cruelty. Then, out of frustration or despair, the lead negotiator of one team said to his counterpart, in an extremely cruel tone, either you accept our offer within the next three days or we’ll leave this negotiation and never return! With that edict, time was weaponized. He’d unleashed a ticking time bomb that would blow the negotiation up unless someone defused the situation. And, the way he made his pronouncement left him no wiggle room to save face.
How do you use time to advance your negotiation position – it’s one of the most precious commodities a negotiator has. The following thoughts are ideas about how you can use time to enhance your efforts.
Some negotiators attempt to use time to create a sense of urgency (e.g. sale ends tomorrow, get it now – I only have ‘x’ amount of time to conclude this deal). In those situations, its use is an attempt to force the opposing negotiator to take immediate specific actions. The challenge is, what to do if the action sought doesn’t occur by the stated deadline – you’re left in a weakened position if you must present a lame excuse for why the deal is still available. Unless you’re ready to confront the consequences, don’t make hard-time declarations like the leader of team one.
When you use time deadlines to create a sense of urgency, leave yourself wiggle room to escape if your demands go unmet. To do that, instead of stating a hard deadline (e.g. the sale ends tomorrow) state a softer one (e.g. the sale is ending soon). The sense of urgency is not as great in the second situation – but you’re less likely to back yourself into a corner.
Overcoming Imposed Deadlines:
Deadlines can lead a negotiation to a slow death. Thus, you must be careful when they’re issued. When confronted by a time deadline –
Watch your time – Be mindful of the time you invest in the negotiation. Psychologically, the more time you spend negotiating, the more likely you’ll be to stay engaged. That can make you more susceptible to falling prey to time constraints. If you don’t think the negotiation has redemption, exit it. And do that sooner versus later.
Control emotions – When negotiating, the more you control your emotions, the more control you’ll have of the negotiation. Time is a factor that weighs on a negotiator’s mind. Thus, to combat it, control its perspective and the emotional stress it places on you. Never let time go unobserved – that’s a factor of control.
Have a backup – You can relieve pressure when you have alternative options – having them can be the release valve to the pressure of time. If you have alternative options and you suspect the other negotiator may be weaponizing time, don’t expose your backup plans (e.g. if I can’t get it from you, I can get it from the other dealer – and it may be less) – Doing that may momentarily stun the other negotiator but you will have also given him another point to attack you (i.e. finding out how viable your backup might be). If need be, let his deadline pass and see what he does. He’ll expose his strategy by disclosing how sincere the deadline was.
In every negotiation, negotiators seek actions to control their counterpart – weaponizing time is one of those actions. To be more successful in your negotiations, be observant of time, know what to do when you’re confronted by time deadlines, and be cautious when issuing them. Time is a negotiator’s precious commodity, use it wisely … and everything will be right with the world.
Dammit, was the sound of exasperation that escaped her lips. She was going to be late, again. She wondered why she seemed to always have a challenge with time – she thought, it seems like I’m late for everything! I’ll probably be late for my own funeral. Oh well, I’ll deal with my tardiness later – she said into the air.
Here’s something to think about, everyone has the same amount of time. So, why are some people more successful than others? Answer – it’s the way they use their time. Successful people respect and use their time wisely – their use is to improve themselves and progress their goals. Sure, they take time to relax, spend time with friends and loved ones – but, for the most part, they’re very respectful of how they utilize the time that they have.
Consider the following to improve your use of time. Doing so will improve your outlook on life. And, it’ll also allow you to become more productive.
One huge waste of time is starting off to address something and not knowing if that’s the most important activity you should be engaged in. Sometime you may have ‘playtime’ that grips your imagination and steals you to another environment. But for the most part, if you have goals and you’re disciplined, you can combat those dastardly creatures. Plus, you’ll feel better knowing that you’re moving towards an end goal that will put you a step closer to a higher point of exhilaration.
Add Fudge Factor To Estimates:
Years ago, an associate said she always added a ‘fudge factor’ to her estimates when she estimated the time it might take to complete a task. She said, depending on the task she’d add a factor of two or three to her estimate – the range was based on her perception of the task’s difficulty. Thus, if she thought that a 10-minute task was easy to complete, she’d add a factor of two to her estimate – for planning purposes that allowed her 20-minutes to complete it. I asked what she did with extra time when a task didn’t take as long as she’d planned. She said that time was allocated to tasks that were in her ‘waiting to address’ folder – they were important. But not as important as the ones that had a higher priority.
To be more efficient with your time, when you’re engaged in an activity that requires concentration, set aside the amount time you want to address that activity and don’t let anything or anyone interrupt you during that time. You’ll save time by not having to restart where you left off from interruptions. That will allow you more time for other activities.
Time, it’s a fleeting measurement of movement. And yet, each moment of time is so important. Everyone has the same amount of it. What you do with it will allow you to progress to higher heights in life or not. If you want to be someone that continuously moves forward, gets ahead in life, use time wisely. Don’t cheat yourself by misusing it. Once you embrace the usage of time in a more efficient manner, you’ll become more efficient … and everything will be right with the world.
What does this have to do with negotiations?
In a negotiation, time can be used as an ally or it can become your foe. It may quickly open a door of opportunity and slam it shut as fast if you’re not mindful of how you’re using it. Therefore, before engaging in a negotiation, plan exactly how you’ll use time. You might consider using it to apply a deadline for the other negotiator to accept an offer or make a concession – or to mark the timeframe as to how long you’ll negotiate.
Regardless of how you use your time when negotiating, measure it wisely as applied to the different stages you’re in versus where you thought you’d be. Doing that will give you a handle on time. Because it’ll keep you from negotiating past a point where doing so is less beneficial to you.
What’s your experience with time? How do you view it? Why is it that time appears to move slowly and at other times it appears to move much faster? There’s no secret about the answer. It’s what you do with your time and the perspective you have of it that makes it appear to pulsate.
This will take forever:
Have you observed how long a task takes when you think it’s going to take a longtime? Sometimes, it doesn’t take as long as you expected. When completed, you feel good and think, that didn’t take that long after all. More then likely, you feel good about your accomplishment and the perspective you have of time.
At other times, the task takes significantly longer than anticipated. You encounter impediments that you’d not considered. You become frustrated! In some cases, you pursue the task to completion. At other times, you surrender to what you perceive to be inevitable and throw in the towel.
What’s the end differences? The differences lie in the perception you had before you engaged in the task, what you experienced while addressing it and its outcome. Be mindful of that because it’ll shape your outlook when assessing future task.
Do You find yourself doing the same things repeatedly because you’re constantly relearning the same lessons? Do you see your goals moving further away as you attempt to achieve them? For you, time may seem to be a whirling mass that’s sucking you into a vortex. You’re in a rut!
Consider how you might improve your plight and develop a plan to do so. Then, engage your plan and observe the benefits derived from it. If they don’t meet your expectations, modify the plan. Be mindful of how you’re viewing the time spent when doing so. That will impact the view you have about your degree of success.
In the zone:
When you experience happiness, you experience the sensation of euphoria. When you experience prolonged happiness, that transcends into a higher sense of euphoria. It’s likened to being ‘in the zone’, a mental place that eclipses the limits of thought and time. What do you do to experience that sensation? Note what it is and when it occurs, because the more you replicate it, the more improved you’ll become. And, you’ll have a better perspective of what you’re doing with your time.
As you engage in your endeavors, consider how you view the usage of your time. If you note what makes you feel better, versus worse about its usage, you will begin to summit to the pinnacle of utilizing your time better, while feeling better about its usage. That will lead you to experience a higher sense of fulfillment … and everything will be right with the world.
What does this have to do with negotiations?
How you view the usage of time in a negotiation will impact the strategies you employ and how those strategies are rebutted by the opposing negotiator. If you view time to be short, you’ll take more drastic measures to get to the end point. That could cause the other negotiator to heighten his sense of time and both of you could find yourselves in a rushed position. That could lead to a calamitous negotiation.
Always be aware of how you view your time and maximize its usage to perceive it as being most beneficial to your cause.
When was the last time you found yourself wondering, why am I still here? What purpose is being here serving me? Sometimes, those questions beckon to the beginning of a new journey. They serve as an indicator of change in your life. Those feelings usually manifest themselves in some subliminal emotion you sense. They nudge at your consciousness. They do so in an attempt to move you. They’re saying, it’s time to move on. Pay attention to those emotional signals because they’re calls from the future. They’re summoning you to move from where you are to where you’ll be. In paying attention, take note of the direction you move in. Those same emotions will gently speak to your consciousness along your journey’s path. They’ll indicate to what degree you’re moving in the right direction.
If you think about it, you’ve been moved by silent thoughts and stimuli that have gently moved you out of one environment and into another throughout your whole life. More than likely, when you were younger, you were not aware when those silent thoughts provoked you. At some point, you acquired that recognition. When you did, that was the awakening of a higher sense of awareness that you’d invoked within yourself.
When you sense that it’s time to move on, know what’s motivating you and name it. Assess if you’re attempting to escape an environment or moving towards a greater goal. It’s important to recognize the main source of motivation because, once you identify it, you’ll have greater insight into what caused you to move. There’s a difference between moving away from and moving towards something. The difference resides in the motivation.
To determine the degree you’ve improved, set goals. As you progress towards the achievement of a goal, have mile-markers that indicate the progress you’ve made. By noting that, you’ll know when you need to make a course correction. That will also be the signal that indicates whether it’s time to leave the path you’re on to seek another.
Never be afraid to realign your actions to achieve greater goals. You were not meant to stop striving forward. That only occurs when you die. So, no matter the turmoil you experience, no matter the perceived setbacks you encounter, never be fearful of leaving an environment that no longer serves you. The longer you stay in a debilitating environment, the more debilitated you’ll become. You’ll have less time to revel in the success you seek. If you note the progress you’re making along the path of life’s journey and you’re willing to leave a path that’s going nowhere, you’ll find a better path for your life … and everything will be right with the world.
What does this have to do with negotiations?
Many negotiators have found themselves stuck in a negotiation long after they should have departed. When it comes to negotiations, the longer you stay engaged, the more likely you are to make unnecessary concessions.
If you find that things aren’t going to your satisfaction, consider points that you might use to exit. In such a case, knowing when it’s time to leave can save you a lot of time, anxiety, and stress. And, as a negotiator, that’s something you don’t want or need.