A curious thing happens again and again in the practice negotiations we conduct at our seminars. Attendees are able to control their concession behaviors through most of the bargaining. They make relatively modest concessions as the give and take progresses. Then, when the seminar leader announces that the deadline is approaching, one party or the other cracks.

They make large concessions which are not reciprocated by the other. The party making smaller concessions as deadline approaches usually does better.

It turns out that both skilled and unskilled negotiators make their largest concessions as time runs out. Both sides cave in somewhat as they seek to reach settlement, but the unskilled negotiators always give in the most.

The next time you are in a negotiation, recognize that your tendency will be to give too much as the deadline approaches. Discipline yourself to make smaller concessions and spread them out a bit longer. Don’t rush to give so much in one lump sum.

And, remember, most deadlines are themselves negotiable. There is usually enough time to make another concession if you have to.

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