“If time is a blessing, then to squander it is a curse.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (click to Tweet)
“Timing Can Be A blessing And Curse In A Negotiation”
People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.
The difference in obtaining what you want in a negotiation is the timing in which you ask. Thus, no only means no until something changes to turn it into a yes. And that’s what makes timing a blessing and a curse in a negotiation. So, how might you nurture time as an advantage for yourself and a curse for the other negotiator? The answer lies in the following.
Observance of Time
To maximize the use of time in a negotiation, you must first observe how your counterpart uses it. That observation will allow you to create the roadmap of strategies you’ll employ to best advantage your negotiation position. Thus, if you observe the other negotiator continually looking at his watch, there’s a reason he’s doing so. Discover that reason. Whatever the reason, note the following once you’ve made that discovery.
1. He’s waiting on information from another source. Question if this is a ploy. Depending on when this occurs in the negotiation, he may be attempting to slow it down for hidden reasons. Don’t get caught up in this ploy. The more time you spend in a negotiation, the more likely you are to stay engaged. And you’re more likely to make unnecessary concessions to see the negotiation to its end.
2. If the other negotiator is rushing you to accept an offer, question his source of motivation. Wonder silently or openly if he’s under time pressure. Pose that question out loud and take note of how he responds. If he hastily says, no – I’m not under any time pressures, the real answer may lie in the manner of his pronouncement. Always believe actions over someone’s words. If you’re caught not doing so, the curse of time may befall you.
3. Here’s a question for you. To what degree is time infinite in a negotiation? Answer – it’s limitless to the degree it ends. That means, even when the other negotiator has said no to your offer, with a change in circumstances and the right timing, you can turn a no into a yes. Never underestimate the value of timing for that purpose. It can be the difference between timing being a curse or a blessing.
You see it in sporting events. The team ahead prevents the opposing team from going on offense. They do so in an attempt to run out the clock – kill time.
Killing time is perpetrated by infusing stalling techniques into the negotiation process. For example, the negotiator instituting this tactic may request documents from the opposing negotiator, pause the negotiation to ask for something from his headquarters, etc. The purpose of doing so does not have to be legitimate. Its purpose is to weaponize time against the other negotiator. And that’s another way that a negotiator uses time and timing implementation as a blessing or a curse.
Negotiators have utilized time as leverage for centuries in negotiations. Time as a force influencer has been stated or implied in offers expressed as ‘buy before it’s gone’ and limited-time offers. The best usage of this technique is when it evokes emotions. Truth be known, you must stimulate the other side’s feelings in all aspects of using time as a manipulator, less such efforts become less effective.
So, how might you inject emotions into using time as leverage?
1. Make your offer as enticing to the other negotiator as possible. Your task is to make him mentally salivate over it. The more you can create that desire, the greater will be your leverage.
2. Consider employing the ‘takeaway’ aspect to your offer. Psychologically, people tend to want more of what they can’t have or fear losing. Use this fact to your advantage.
3. Reduce your offer to one that’s less substantial than what preceded it. Doing so will give a sense of slow withdrawal, which will increase the need for the other negotiator to act.
A convolution of offers is a time manipulator that smart negotiators use to manipulate their negotiation counterpart. The strategy entails placing several proposals on the table, either simultaneously or over a specified time. Some of them are red herrings – offers that are either unobtainable or those that are of no value to the extending negotiator.
Nevertheless, while a negotiator examines offers, time to reach an outcome for that negotiator continues to pass. And while that’s occurring, he becomes more pressed for time. Then, that individual can find himself forced into a dire position to accept a best-case outcome to avoid a worst-case one. Depending on which side of the equation a negotiator is on, that can be a blessing or a curse.
Time is always a factor in a negotiation. The way a negotiator uses it can turn it into a curse or a blessing. If you’d like to be on the side that uses time as a blessing in your negotiations, use it in the manner prescribed in the preceding information. That will become the coda of your efforts. And everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!
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