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By Ben Hoffman

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Will they deliver on their commitment? We are talking about a relationship here. We need to have a certain level of trust established. It should be no surprise that many of us need to take our time when we are negotiating something important to us. We need the "space" for trust building. If we are negotiating a partnership or any long-term arrangement, we need to do more than feel comfortable with the facts. We need to trust the other party. There is a "marriage" of a sort happening here. ' Time away from the negotiating table may be necessary just to get some understanding of the agreement that is being developed.

Time must be thought about in absolute terms, also. For example, you must ask yourself, How much time do I have to prepare? If I need more time can I get it? Can I manage the negotiations to be sure that I have enough time? Perhaps I should plan a break in the face-to-face negotiations to get more information, or to slow things down if I feel they are going too fast. Time also plays a big role in the sense that everybody at the table has some deadline or a sense of when the negotiation must end.

These are ingredients in a recipe for fairness. Lawyers are hired to present the best case. What is the evidence? Does it support our side? How strong is it? What is the best possible way of presenting it? Just think of fictional lawyers and detectives who build their cases carefully, based on the evidence they believe will be persuasive, presenting their evidence with the perfect timing that only movies or books will permit! Evidence is argument. We actually do base many of our requests, even the little ones that come up in everyday negotiations at home and at work, on some kind of evidence.

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