“Patience can be a virtue; it can also be an enslaver. Know the difference to avoid entrapment.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
“Thank You For Your Patience”
How many times have you heard the words, “thank you for your patience”? To a degree, there are times when such words become frustrating. You hear over the intercom, “you’re flight’s been delayed”, thank you for your patience. The train is 33 minutes behind schedule. Thank you for your patience.
In most situations when such words are uttered, thank you for your patience, you’re in a captive position. You can’t do anything but wait. So, why do you think such announcements are made? Do you think there’s a hidden message implied?
Sometimes, the attempt is to keep you calm and feeling like the offending party is sorry for the dilemma they’ve caused. They’re soliciting empathy to soften you to the plight you find yourself in. In other times, they’re genuinely sorry.
So, what can you do to pushback on such psychological ploys? In some cases, you can say, I appreciate the sincerity of your statement, can you please do ‘x’? In this case, ‘x’ is something that you might want due to the inconvenience you find yourself in. That request is nothing more than a test to assess their sincerity.
Depending on the circumstances, you might be surprised at what you’re granted. The point is, words are used to influence emotions. In this case, they could be used to assuage the hostile feelings that may be swirling in you due to the circumstances. To allay those feelings and test your negotiation skills, ask the other party to show through action how sorry they are. You can request anything that pleases you. I’ve done it by asking for a penny. The request got a laugh, which made the situation more tenable. It changed the outlook I had and that of the other party.
When you find yourself in a position of helplessness, due to situations that you perceive to be out of your hands, take actions to control them. You’ll be amazed at how well you feel … and everything will be right with the world.
What does this have to do with negotiations?
In a negotiation, the words, ‘thank you for your patience’ can be a way to subdue a request for concessions, or slow the negotiation process down. It can also suggest genuine sincerity for an indiscreet remark or action. The point is, you need to understand the real meaning of someone’s conveyance to assess the purveyor’s true intent. Without validation, you could misperceive that intent, which can cause the negotiation to take an unexpected turn.
First, consider the mindset you possess; your current state of mind will influence your perspective. Next, consider the person with whom you’re negotiating. Has she displayed an ill temper throughout the negotiation, or a demeanor that’s been non-threatening, passive, and one of conciliation? Take into account what has occurred prior to that point; the closer you are to a point of exasperation, the less likely you are to being in an understanding mindset. That means if you’ve been riled throughout the negotiation, or at a point that’s not too distant, you’ll be more likely to seek retribution and less likely to offer forgiveness.
Always be mindful of the intent of the other negotiator. It’s through that understanding that you’ll gain insight into the real person with whom you’re negotiating.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!
After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com
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