Negotiation touches every part of our lives. Relationships in business and in our personal lives are negotiated. And the skills to do it effectively can often mean the difference between getting what you want or losing out. You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate!
In the first section of the book, How to be a Great Negotiator, written by property economist, investor and developer Neville Berkowitz, the characteristic traits of a great negotiator are explored in short, bite-sized nuggets of advice.
Over the next few months, we will bring you the traits needed to succeed at the art of negotiating.
(Courtesy of PersonalEmpowerment.co)
Patience is defined in the Penguin Concise English Dictionary as “the capacity to bear pains and trials without complaint”. A patient negotiator possesses a capacity for calm endurance and the ability to wait for the right moment; hold out for a better deal; serenely or stoically tolerate and endure tension in a negotiation; and not be forced into hasty or impulsive decisions. Patience is the ability to wait and do nothing, expertly. And it is a formidable weapon in the arsenal of a great negotiator.
The outcome of a negotiation, and the power in a negotiation, often go to the one who can remain patient and calm in difficult moments. While you wait patiently, expertly doing nothing, the opposing side grows agitated because the rhythm and process of the negotiation have become unpredictable. While you sit calmly, silently assessing your options and planning your next moves, letting go, they feel doubts and uncertainties, and an unsettling loss of control. The power in a negotiation often shifts to the silent, patient party.
Yes, there is always a risk that the negotiation could collapse due to delayed actions. But this happens infrequently and, if it does, the negotiation can usually be resuscitated. And if a negotiation breaks down due to unresolvable differences, or due to lack of integrity or civility on the part of the other party, be willing to end it, walk away calmly, and be patient afterwards.
Patience is standing on principle and not engaging in unfruitful encounters with uncooperative or untrustworthy people. It is standing firm in yourself and guarding your primary objectives for how ever long it takes. When the other party recognises your patient adherence to principle, they are likely to come around. Then the power shifts to you.
Being patient does not mean you have stopped negotiating. Patience is a negotiation strategy to be applied when you don’t know what to say or do next, or when saying or doing something doesn’t seem like a good idea. If, as Rudyard Kipling said, “you can wait and not be tired of waiting,” and “keep your head while all about you are losing theirs,” the tense or uncertain moments of a negotiation are not difficult to bear, and unusually stressful circumstances that test your present capacity for patience will also increase it.
People who lack patience in a negotiation may feel like they have a cab waiting downstairs with the meter running. But don’t let their impatience be your problem, even if the cab is really there! With such people, let your attitude reflect the saying “your urgency is not my emergency”. Just sit calmly, knowing you have parked your car in long-term parking!
Patience enables you to calmly endure and persevere through the ups and downs of the negotiation process – both in the research and preparation stage and throughout the negotiation process itself. It is the most effective disposition for handling mistakes, misunderstandings, frustrations, temporary setbacks, personal attacks, adversity, negativity, disappointments, etc.
True patience includes resilience – physical, emotional, and mental stamina that lasts to the finish line. True patience is its own reward, and is often rewarded in the end. It is the water wearing down the rocks over aeons, turning riverbeds into canyons. So be patient, and make it your objective to be the last person standing in the negotiation.