In business, communicating your “close” line for impact is often a crucial factor in success or failure.
The right timing for a marketing advance, to lodge a finance application or even enter a queue……all appear to have timing influencing the outcome.
The reality is that there are a number of factors at play, however good preparation is able to guide you to the right time for optimal success.
There is no better example of this than the right timing in either dispute resolution or negotiations. Preparation to ensure that you pitch your point at the right time – with all other factors being constant – will draw a superior outcome.
Let me explain.
Having just stepped off an international flight in a foreign country, I had witnessed three separate interactions which I have characterized as;
1. Pitching too hard too early for no return
2. Right message, but timed poorly to the wrong audience
3. Right timing, superior result
Pitching too hard too early for no return
Due to an apparent “baggage handling issue” our plane was an hour late getting off the ground. Passenger 6D felt the need to fire into the attendant on three separate occasions – starting a couple of minutes past the scheduled departure – aggressive and only getting more fired up with each occasion. Whilst being a fair question, the timing, frequency and tone only hindered Ms 6D’s cause as the responses grew shorter and less helpful with each barrage.
- This was a classic case of the impatient approach only putting the attendant (audience) off side and yielding no return
Right message, but timed poorly to the wrong audience
On arrival the customs operation was like most that I have encountered, requiring an inbound passenger card/declaration to undergo a preliminary check by the customs officer. Essentially this is a filter process for a deeper baggage examination, with the odds being that at some point you will strike it lucky for a full check – regardless of what you mark on your card!
The passenger two ahead of me was directed to Lane 1 for full checking. Without moving, Mr #2 started to try explain the where he had been and what he was carrying. Perhaps Mr #2 had done everything right and had nothing of concern – we will never know – but this was not the time or audience to discuss this.
So the few minutes where he tried to plead his case, was simply a waste of time. Waiting to speak to the customs official at the other end of Lane 1 would have provided the opportunity to yield a far better outcome.
- accepting his explanation as genuine, this was a case of right information, but timed poorly as it was to the wrong person and yielded no benefit
Right timing, superior result
And lastly – some mastery at work. As I waited in the transit area for a bus, I tuned into a conversation happening over at the hire car desk. Long story short – there was an error somewhere which meant that the car which had been ordered, was not available. The banter seemed to be on good terms, back and forwards – car type, availability, costs, terms and conditions etc. From my vantage point, this discussion came across like two skilled debaters revelling in the contest.
Like all contests – this one had its ending, with the customer rolling off a very forceful close, with a direct tone, some animation and a bit more volume (likely for myself and few others in the area who had started to pay attention) – but with a smile on his face. Body language told me that he was happy with the response and the smile on the agents face suggested that it was acceptable to all.
- The timing of the power line was held back to follow the positioning discussions which provided critical context – enabling in a favourable outcome.
The clear lessons
- assess your audience to ensure you’re delivering to the right person
- provide context to your issue or concern
- your physical characteristics are important (i.e. deliver with a smile)
- and lastly, but most importantly – deliver your power line or message at the right moment in time
So the next time you are in a pressure situation – dispute or negotiation – maintain the presence of mind to communicate your “close” line and control the timing of your message for an optimal result. The few hours, minutes or seconds that you wait could deliver the most profitable hourly rate you ever get!