Time is a key factor in bargaining strength. If one party has time to reach an agreement and the other doesn’t, the one who does in in a stronger position.  The problem with evaluating time as a factor is that we tend to underestimate our strength because we are more aware of the time pressures on ourselves than on the other person.

Below are five ideas to build time power.

  1. Leave time to negotiate. When forced to decide quickly you won’t do well.
  2. Be on time or early for the meeting. Getting there with time to spare will help talks get started in a more relaxed manner.
  3. Be prepared. Don’t just hope for the best. Too many people go into negotiations with little or no preparation and pay a high price for that luxury. Leave enough time to plan.
  4. Pick the right time and place to talk if you possibly can. If the time or place is wrong, negotiate a better venue.
  5. Give yourself time to think. Caucus often. Take breaks.

Habit, precedent and custom exert power, often without uttering a word. The past exerts pressure on present and future behavior. Past dealings affect future agreements.  When a public agreement establishes a 5% raise for teachers, wage negotiations in the private sector are affected by that percentage change.

We are surrounded by policies, procedures, rules and company standards or practices that set focal points on intra-organizational bargaining between peers, subordinates and those in charge. If you want the other party to look favorably at your position, find a good rule or regulation to support it.  Legitimacy adds strength and credibility to your position.  They allow you to take the high ground.


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