Why Negotiators are impatient

by Giles Morgan |
16th January, 2018 |
How to
Giles Morgan
23 Mar, 2023

In my experience many negotiators lack patience. Their impatience is born of many factors. Some are based on

  1. fear – they are or become uncomfortable in the negotiation and leave money on the table in their hurry to leave;
  2. targets – the negotiator is on the clock, they have pressures internally and / or in their own heads linked to reward or lack of it;
  3. superiority – they believe they are better than their counterpart; seniority – empowered to say ‘yes’ and / or with too many other, more important, things to be doing
  4. intelligence – they calculate too quickly, don’t feel they need time outs, and have worked out the deal, for both sides, before the end
  5. achievement – they feel, either because they set a target and reached it or have been given the symbols of success by the other party, that they have reached the end and maxed their deal, when in fact there was more on the table…

Time is one of the most important elements in negotiation. Look to use all the time available.

As time pressure increases, negotiators are more likely to concede, making inappropriate moves towards the end to relieve their discomfort and stress. This takes nerve and patience.

Once we have mastered patience we give ourselves time to listen more. This control serves us well when seeking information. When we are patient and have calmed the chimp in our heads we will be able to hear selling (a sign of weakness!), soft language and stresses in the voice. We’ll also be able to see nonverbal communications that may give our counterparts away. More importantly when we are patient we will be in more control of ourselves.

Patience is all about being in charge of self and time. Effective negotiators gain the necessary internal agreements with stakeholders and management to be in-charge of time, targets and profits. Receive their air-cover (how long they will allow you to conduct these proceedings) and negotiate internally for more time if appropriate. This will alleviate any internal pressures so enabling you to negotiate with less stress and with more confidence, your team is behind you.

Make more time for research and planning. Who has the power? Where did they open before? Where will they open this time? What is their walkaway? What is your walkaway? What is your opener going to be? When will you move and how much? How many moves will you use? What questions will you ask?… and there are so many more… Take your time preparing for a negotiation and reap the rewards.

Don’t allow the other party to hurry you, breath… take your time. Become comfortable waiting, allow silence to become overpowering for the other party. Be in-charge of yourself and therefore the other party, only move on when it’s the appropriate time to do so. Take time outs, even when you don’t need them…

Never, ever, ever think you are more senior or superior than your counterpart! Your ego, arrogance or complacency could be used against you. A well-trained negotiator knows how to stroke your ego and use their behaviour to act and make you think you’re ‘winning’… Kahvay (Beware, Be Aware)

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