Impasse-Breaking Tip – Set a Deadline

Notes on Negotiation
Written by Marty Latz, Latz Negotiation Institute

With the latest federal budget negotiation deadline quickly approaching, this is a good time to point out that setting a deadline can help break an impasse.  Fast and furious concessions typically occur as parties approach deadlines because it’s their last opportunity to reach agreement (at least if it’s an inflexible deadline).  Agreeing to a deadline increases the likelihood parties will move and ratchets up the urgency felt by both sides.

Here, the parties may reach agreement on a new budget, agree to another short-term extension or, if they think their Plan B of shutting the government down is better than the offer on the table, not reach agreement.  We’ll find out in the next day or two.  In any case, without the deadline, there is a good chance the budget negotiation would be pushed down the road (as it has been up to now).

Marty Latz is the founder of Latz Negotiation Institute, a national negotiation training and consulting company, and ExpertNegotiator, a Web-based software company that helps managers and negotiators more effectively negotiate and implement best practices based on the experts’ proven research.  He is also the author of Gain the Edge! Negotiating to Get What You Want (St. Martin’s Press 2004). He can be reached at 480-951-3222 or

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