General Negotiation August 24, 2015

Caution-Your Concessions Will Get Larger Than Necessary As Deadline Nears

A curious thing happens again and again in practice negotiations we conduct at seminars. Attendees are able to control their concession behavior through most of the bargaining. They make relatively modest concessions as give and take progresses. Then, when I announce that deadline is approaching, one party or the other cracks by making large concessions not reciprocated by the other. The party making smaller concessions as deadline approaches usually does better.

In my formal doctoral experiment at the University of Southern California with 120 professional negotiators, I found that both sides controlled their concession behavior for most of the session. Then things changed. As deadline approached and I began to announce, “three minutes to go,” “two to go,” “one to go,” – a hush fell over the room. The tension mounted. Many participants settled only minutes or seconds before the final bell, although they’d had a full hour to do so.

It turned out that both skilled and unskilled negotiators made concessions as time ran out. Both caved in somewhat as they sought to reach settlement, but it was the unskilled who gave away the most.

A friend of mine, a psychiatrist, told me he wasn’t surprised at these results. He has found that people make bad decisions under pressure; they behave in emotional rather than in rational ways. His belief for those who come to him as patients is that they are better off postponing a decision when under duress.

The next time you are in a negotiation, recognize that your tendency will be to give too much as deadline comes close. Discipline yourself to make smaller concessions and spread them out a bit longer. Learn to ask two simple questions as time runs out. First, “Why should I give so much in one lump sum right now?” And second, “Why not make these final concessions on the installment plan- a little now, a little later?” These reminders will help you avoid the deadline cave-in crisis. Remember also that most deadlines are themselves subject to negotiation. There is usually time enough to make another concession after you have renegotiated the deadline.

THE PROGRAM WAS GREAT! MY SEMINAR LEADER AND THE STRUCTURE OF THE COURSE KEPT ME CONSTANTLY STIMULATED. I NOW AM BETTER PREPARED TO GO INTO AN IMPORTANT NEGOTIATION MEETING AND STAY IN CONTROL, WHILE FINISHING THE MEETING SATISFIED.

Deanna D.
CASE MANAGER at THE JACKSON LABORATORY

IF YOU HAVE THE TRAINING BUDGET AND TWO DAYS TO SPARE, YOU'LL STRUGGLE TO FIND A PROGRAM MORE FAR-REACHING, ON-POINT, AND INSTANTLY IMPLEMENTABLE.

Jeff G.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER at THE M.K. MORSE COMPANY

EXCELLENT COURSE, BRINGS MORE CONFIDENCE IN MY ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE. I THINK THIS COURSE IS A MUST FOR ALL EMPLOYEES WHO DEAL WITH CUSTOMERS.

John S.
CHIEF ENGINEERING MANAGER at EXXONMOBIL

THIS WAS VERY EFFECTIVE WITH A STRONG FOCUS ON BOTH-WIN NEGOTIATING.

Kathleen L.
SENIOR ANALYST at BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD OF MICHIGAN

THE KARRASS CLASS WAS THE SINGLE BEST TRAINING CLASS/SEMINAR I HAVE EVER ATTENDED. EVERY TIME WE DID AN EXERCISE IT TAUGHT YOU WHAT TO DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME. THANKS.

Kim C.
PROCUREMENT at AMERICAN EXPRESS

THIS PROGRAM HAS GREATLY INCREASED MY CONFIDENCE AND ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE FOR MYSELF AS WELL AS MY COMPANY.

LaDonna E.
SENIOR STRATEGIC BUYER at HALLMARK

THE NEGOTIATING CLASS WAS VERY INFORMATIVE. THE INSTRUCTOR PROVIDED AN INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE THAT CAN BE APPLIED TO EVERYDAY LIFE.

Mary S.
INTERNATIONAL SOURCING at FMC TECHNOLOGIES

WE NEGOTIATE EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES, BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY. THIS COURSE DEFINES THE PROCESS AND PROVIDES TECHNIQUES TO ACHIEVE SUCCESSFUL RESULTS.

Phillip H.
VICE PRESIDENT at GE

PRIOR TO THIS CLASS I FELT AS THOUGH I WAS GETTING EATEN ALIVE BY INTERNAL NEGOTIATIONS WITH SALES REPS. NOW I FEEL PREPARED TO CHALLENGE WHAT THEY ARE SAYING AND BET TO THEIR REAL NEEDS.

Steve Q.
PLANNER at HONEYWELL

MANY PEOPLE FAIL TO ACHIEVE THEIR POTENTIAL BECAUSE THEY DON’T SEE THE OPPORTUNITIES TO NEGOTIATE A WIN/WIN AGREEMENT WITH THEIR COLLEAGUES. THIS CLASS IS AN EYE OPENER TO THIS DYNAMIC..

Stuart B.
CONTRACTS MANAGER at HEWLETT-PACKARD
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