We sometimes feel pressured during a negotiation to make a decision. Perhaps that pressure comes from the other side, or perhaps it is pressure that we put on ourselves, because we perceive indecision as a sign of weakness. Regardless of the source, it’s important to allow ourselves time to make complex decisions.
Research conducted by Maarten Bos, et al, shows that distraction, whether for a few minutes, overnight or a few days, can facilitate the processing of information, help us prioritize, and result in better decisions. By taking a break from the problem, we allow our unconscious to do some of the work while our conscious self rests. If you need time during a negotiation to reflect on a critical decision, take a break or schedule a second meeting on another day. While away from the issue, do something you like to do, work on something else and get some rest. The need to reach a decision won’t go away, but chances are you’ll have a clearer picture of the alternatives afterwards. When faced with a complex decision, give yourself permission to sleep on it.
To read more about this subject, I recommend this article from the Harvard Business Review: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/05/a_counter-intuitive_approach_t.html