Avoidance Can Be Good

Posted on July 29, 2009

Wait until you're prepared before engaging in negotiation, advises Andrea Schneider (bio).


So avoiding as an approach is a really good thing when you don't have the time to negotiate at that time. So somebody's calling you; you receive an email which starts to worry you. They're clearly laying out something. Or you run into somebody in the hallway.

And there's nothing wrong with being very clear that you're happy to negotiate, you're just not going to negotiate right now. So you don't answer the phone. You don't reply to the email right away. You tell the person who you've met in the hallway who wants to talk about this issue that you're happy to talk, and you want to meet another time.

There's no reason that a negotiation about something that's important to you should happen on somebody else's schedule. If something is important to you, you should have that negotiation when you are prepared and ready to engage in that negotiation. And so avoiding can be very useful until you get to that point. Of course, the down side is you need to engage at some point, and if it is important to you, sticking your head in the sand as a delaying tactic becomes very, very frustrating to all involved.

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Excerpted from interview with professor at the 2009 Career Development Institute for Psychiatry in Palo Alto, CA.


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