Business Negotiation April 17, 2017

Patience in Negotiations

Patience really is a virtue “All you need is a little patience. ” We’ve heard that for years, in church sermons, from our teachers, our parents, even from pop songs...

Patience really is a virtue

“All you need is a little patience.” We’ve heard that for years, in church sermons, from our teachers, our parents, even from pop songs. As it turns out, patience is all you need if you want to win at negotiation. Patience might be the number one attribute of an effective negotiator.

Patience equals time, and more time may mean better negotiation outcomes. Patience is the supertactic of negotiations precisely because it gives you the power of time. You need time to understand what exactly is being offered and what the risks are. With more time, you can discover strengths and weaknesses. The bottom line is that patience brings more information to the table.

Patience (and its cousins persistence and determination) make up for inadequate resources. These are some things that patience accomplishes:

  1. Provides more information

  2. Allows you to discover the other party's needs and wants

  3. Lowers other party’s expectations

  4. Leads to concessions

  5. Forces realistic assessments

  6. Lets problems rise to the surface

  7. May change leadership or people involved in the negotiation

With patience, parties will resolve their differences. It’s like John Quincy Adams said: “Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”

Patience may be hard to come by in today’s fast-paced world. You may have to work at being patient, not just in negotiation but in life. Some tips to achieve patience include: figuring out why your triggers are, reminding yourself that things take time, and remembering what matters.

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