Posts tagged: principled negotiation

Persuasion

Much of what we do is about persuading – whether in a mediation, before a Tribunal or negotiating.  The key to successful persuasion is as follows:

Reciprocity: make the other side indebted to you – be a first mover and give something unexpected and, so far as possible personalised: “You have this room, it’s better and I have stocked it with my wife’s cookies”

Scarcity: don’t just emphasise the benefits of your position, what are its unique features and what will they lose if it is not accepted: “I am authorised to give you a special price not available to anyone else.  It is only available today.”

Authority: people are more generous to those in authority – an ethical, no-cost endorsement is valuable currency: Could your receptionist say “You are here to see Mr Ashford – we like him, always the gentleman and clients love him.”

Consistency: a big step often follows a small step – invite a small, voluntary and public step and build from there: “Could you see yourself paying a £1 to settle this … [establishes the direction of flow of money] … Could you see yourself paying £…”

Liking: people like to deal with people who they perceive as similar – pay compliments and co-operate towards mutual goals: from a main contractor to a sub-contractor “That was a very clever argument – how can we use that to get more from the employer”

Consensus: if similar people in the same position have acted in a particular way others are likely to follow – “The rest of the team have accepted a pay freeze, will you do the same”

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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