MOVE FASTER! (or, Negotiatin’ 101)

startup CEO

In several negotiations I’ve participated in recently, I’ve seen an alarming set of trends – Hesitation, Uncertainty, lack of confidence. While this is quite understandable for many reasons (see below), it’s still not a good thing.

The ability to work quickly through a negotiation process is critical to the negotiation itself, as THINGS CHANGE over time. The definition of making a decision is making a decision, not thinking about it or hesitating.

All negotiations have some amount of hidden agendas to them, on both sides, so you’ll never know all of what your potential partner/employer/buyer/seller is thinking. That’s part of the fun. But stalling a negotiation, especially further down the process, will make you look suspicious, even possibly dishonest to the other side.

While once in a while drawing out the process makes good sense and is even the best strategy, in the long run it’s usually a bad move. When you dilly dally, wait it out, hesitate, delay, constantly change the terms, you send a message to the other side that you’re not that interested, not ready, willing to lose the transaction, want the terms to change or worse, don’t know what you’re doing. Either do it or don’t and move on. Or look like a weak negotiator.

Stalling a negotiation also eats up time, doubly, because it also increases the likelihood of your early conversations becoming obsolete. Completing a negotiation allows you to practice your craft, use the change in your business. Yes, I’ve made some bad decisions because I made them too quickly, but the good decisions highly out weigh them.

Tina Fey has a great way of saying it in her book. “When in doubt, say yes to everything, then work it out. It will completely change the mood of the room.”

So show your confidence and skills by completing your negotiations. It will bring you more success in the big leagues.