Business Negotiation August 13, 2015

Give in Slowly and Grudgingly

Negotiations are lost when people cave in before they need to. As you negotiate, it is wise to make sure the other side is not certain as to whether you will back down further from your position...

Negotiations are lost when people cave in before they need to. As you negotiate, it is wise to make sure the other side is not certain as to whether you will back down further from your position. If you retreat too soon or too easily the other may be encouraged to try for more. Negotiators who concede quickly or make large concessions usually do so to move the agreement toward closure, but often drive the parties further apart by raising the other side’s expectations to unrealistic levels.

Everything you do in a negotiating situation affects the expectation level in the other person’s mind. Your initial demands set the stage. Your persistence in holding to a position leads the other party to wonder if their goals can be reached. The rate and timing of your concessions determine whether the other side’s expectations will rise or fall. Your way of offering concessions will affect the overall satisfaction with the settlement. If concessions are small and grudgingly given, the other side is likely to be pleased because they will feel that little was left on the table.

As for making concessions grudgingly and slowly, the record is clear for workplace negotiators. People who are stingy with concessions come out better if they are consistent in making only small concessions and explaining them well. By giving slowly, negotiators add value to their movement and signal that they is little more to give. Concessions, carefully controlled, lead the other side toward closure and provide them with a higher level of satisfaction with the final outcome. These goals are also consistent with the objectives of relationship-based compromise in that they provide both parties with negotiating space and time to explore a better deal for everyone. Giving in slowly also leads to an increased flow of information and a better understanding of why the final settlement makes good sense.
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