Your energy can drag in two ways. One is the effect of your very own biorhythm or energy cycle. The other is some specific factor that affects you at a specific time for a specific reason. I talk about the biorhythm first. Every human being has a biorhythm. That means that each person has a time of day when his or her energy naturally peaks and a time of day when his or her energy naturally slumps. Its part of the human condition and it’s slightly different for everyone. This rhythm occurs totally independent of any specific events. You have heard people say, “I’m not a morning person” or “She’s a real night person.” They are talking about the natural biorhythm. By the time you become an adult, you have a good idea of what the best time of the day is for you to do various things.
And it’s not just the amount of energy, but what the energy is good for. I like to write in the morning. If I can, I schedule meetings for the afternoon so my reading and drafting activities take place during the morning hours. That’s me. If at all possible, I schedule serious negotiations for the afternoon. What is your biorhythm? How do you normally function in the morning, the afternoon, and the evening? It’s important to do what you can to match your activities up with your own natural biorhythm. This isn’t always possible, not even for me, but it’s a worthy goal to have in mind. In the office, try not to schedule negotiations for the latter part of your workday, if that’s when your energy tends to be lower. For you, your mind won’t be as fresh as it is before lunch, for example. You don’t carry the “baggage” of your workday with you if you schedule meetings during the first half of the day. On the contrary, you may have had a good day at work and you’re pumped and ready for a negotiation late in the day.
But what if the other party is experiencing an energy drag? What if the other party isn’t having a good day? Perhaps your counterpart doesn’t want to listen. Your negotiation is then similarly in danger of not proceeding well. The unfortunate truth is that often the two negotiators will have different rhythms to their energy. You just have to try to make things work the best for you because it’s not possible to change someone else’s rhythm. No matter what biorhythm may be involved, more often than not specific circumstances will trump the biorhythm. Sometimes people are just too tired to listen. Listening takes energy. If your energy is flagging because of a lack of sleep or the crush of other business, you have a hard time listening. Be aware of that fact. You probably have said or heard, “Slow down, I’ve had a long day at work.” That’s the sound of a good negotiator, someone who knows that you can’t always listen at top speed. If the speaker needs to slow down for you to fully participate and pay attention, just say so.