Posts tagged: respect


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: Gain Credibility & Respect

A couple of recent mediations have highlighted a (poor) tactic.  At some stage financial offers usually need to be made – typically by a Defendant (if there are proceedings).

Defendants will often have submitted a mediation position statement / brief and spoken during the opening session of how hopeless the case is.  To reinforce that view they will want to make a low offer (far below the likely settlement spectrum). 

Doing so is, I suggest, a poor tactic.  The aim of the negotiation process should be to have a credible position and gain respect.  Offering very low and coming up quickly is not credible nor does it gain respect – indeed the opposite can be the case.

Defendants should make a serious offer on a reasoned and dispassionate basis and then move slowly from there.  Starting too low can be a mistake.  The chance of overbidding (i.e. offering to pay at your first offer more than the Claimant would accept) is very rare.

Be bold – it will work!

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