Time is a crucial element in bargaining power. If I have time to reach an agreement and you don’t, I have a measure of power over you. The difficulty with time is that we tend to underestimate our strength because we are aware of time pressures on ourselves, and not those on the other side.

You can build time power by using time wisely.

Leave time to shop around. Don’t wait until the last minute to buy or sell. If forced to act quickly, you won’t do well.

Be on time for your meetings. It’s a small thing, but will help you get started in a relaxed way.

Give yourself time to think during negotiation. Caucus often. Short sessions with breaks in between are much better than long sessions with no breaks.

Avoid marathon talks unless you are well satisfied with where you stand and want to carry the agreement over the goal line.

Pick the best time to negotiate. If you are bargaining for bananas at the market, approach them at 5pm on Saturday afternoon before they close for the night or weekend. There is usually a best time for everything.

Leave enough time to plan. Use that time to actually plan rather than just hoping for the best.

Time can be used to your advantage and is a key element of having strong bargaining power.

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