Mediation Tip: Insist on Using Objective Criteria

Principled negotiations are not battles of will. There is no winner and you don’t need to push your position until the other backs down. The goal is to “produce wise agreements amicably and efficiently”.

The use of objective criteria helps removes the emotion from the discussion and allows both parties to use reason and logic. You may have to develop objective criteria and there are a number of ways that can be done, from “traditional practices”, to “market value” to “what a court would decide”. Objective criteria need to be independent of each side’s will.”

Once objective criteria have been developed, they need to be discussed with the other side:

  • Frame each issue as a joint search for objective criteria.
  • Use reason and be open to reason.
  • Never yield to pressure, only to principle.

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