Make it Easy for the Other Person to Say Yes with a Win-Win Agreement

Mediation Minute

We often hear it said that neither party is happy with a settlement. 

If parties strive for a win-win approach, it is possible for both to find the settlement to be a win.  To do this, give them a stake in the outcome by making sure they participate in the process.  Remember an Agreement is easier if both sides feel they contributed to the solution.  Some steps to follow include:

  • A proposal evolves from the suggestions of both sides, so they can feel like it is theirs.   Get the other side involved early and give credit generously.
  • Make proposals consistent with their values.
    • Allow them to save face – avoid “you will accept my offer” attitude or “take it or leave it.”  Consider “If I would do this, could we reach an agreement?”  or “What do you think it will take to reach an agreement.”
  • Two interests:
    • Interest in the substance: Is this deal a good deal?
    • Interest in the relationship: How will this affect our ongoing interactions?
  • Some parties are willing to trade a good relationship for good substance.
  • Knowing the other side personally helps cordiality. Find ways to meet them informally before the negotiation, arrive early to chat or linger afterwards.   Get to know the mediator and discuss your issues with them.
  • Make the other parties decision easy:
    • Search for precedent;
    • Don’t just make threats, make the other side aware of the consequences and improve on those consequences; and
    • Try to draft a proposal to which their responding with a single “yes” would be sufficient, realistic, and operational.

If you have spent time exploring interests and searching for ways to satisfy your and their needs, you just may be able to achieve a win-win agreement.