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Why Negotiators Should Reveal Their Deadlines: Disclosing Weaknesses Can Make You Stronger


  • The authors appreciate the support of a Berkman Faculty Development grant and gratefully acknowledge the support of the staff and facilities of the Center for Behavioral Decision Research at Carnegie Mellon University. Please address correspondence by email to (or)

Francesca Gino, Carnegie Mellon University, CMU/Tepper, 5000 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15217, U.S.A.; e-mail:


Conventional wisdom holds that negotiators who are under time pressure should avoid revealing their final deadlines to the other side, especially if they are in a weak position. The present study questions this conventional wisdom. The experiment manipulates time pressure on the negotiators, knowledge of that time pressure, and each side’s power at the bargaining table. Power is manipulated by varying the quality of each side’s alternatives to negotiated agreement (BATNAs). Results show that negotiators benefited from revealing their final deadlines, regardless of the strength of their BATNAs. The discussion explores why this simple lesson is counterintuitive and why negotiators mistakenly believe they ought to keep their deadlines secret.