Mediation thoughts: “Never take a hostage you are not willing to shoot.”

Mediations are negotiations – and in negotiations, drawing lines is sometimes the final step. (More often, it is an almost final step.)

But what happens if you draw a line, and the other side crosses it?

Well, if you let them cross it without repercussions, they know that the line means nothing – not that one or the next one.

So what do you do if you want to test a line?

Instead of saying, “If you don’t drop your demand to x, we are out of here”, try “Your demand needs to be x if you want us to stay interested.”

But what if it really is a line?

The answer is simple – don’t quibble, don’t equivocate, don’t leave room for doubt.

Try, “We’ll pay x. We’ll pay it one move from now or 2 moves from now or 10 moves from now. But we won’t pay x+1 ever, voluntarily.” Most importantly, communicate that you aren’t being heavy handed. Although you hope that the matter will settle at x, you are at peace with not settling if x won’t do it, and you understand that the other side might reasonably not agree to x. If so, we’ll shake hands and depart as friendly adversaries.

 

The Missouri Supreme Court reminds us, "The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements."
Web Analytics