Time is the second crucial element when you negotiate for anything. Most people
think of negotiating as if it is a task with a fixed start and finish. If that
were true, the time frame would be fixed so when would most concession behavior
take place? In very public negotiations, such as trade deals, you will have observed
that all the action takes place at the eleventh hour - or even the thirteenth,
fourteenth and fifteenth hours!. So, in any negotiation, expect the most significant
concessional behavior and settlement actions to take place close to the deadline.
The party with the tightest deadline experiences the most time pressure as
the deadline approaches. They come under increasing stress and are therefore
at a disadvantage. Who sets deadlines? Driven by the demands of the project's
sponsors, the project manager is often the most vulnerable. The lesson here
is to start as early as possible and endeavor to put the other party under their
own deadline first. The best tactic is to design a flexible deadline well in
advance. Remember the old saying: "Never enough time to do it right the first
time, but always time enough to do it over?"
So, the way time is viewed and used can be crucial to success. Time may even
affect the relationship. A delayed arrival may be seen as evidence of confidence
or hostility, whereas an early arrival may be considered as anxiety or a lack
of consideration for others. Time can favor either side depending on the circumstances
and how it is applied.