Mediation tip: "The other side is too far away for me to respond"

April 13, 2013

There are a number of ways to get past this type of perceived impasse. Telling the other side to "change their number" seldom works, and is usually met with the reply, "Then they aren't here in good faith to seriously negotiate". Understandably, many negotiators calculate the number and amount of each move based on the other side's number. This may lead to the hopeless conclusion that this case cannot settle. But, what if you were to ignore their number, and simply figure out what it will take for YOU to move where you need to get? Pretty soon, the other side will be doing the same, and it will become apparent in due time where everyone is trying to go. Alternately, you can place the other side where you would want them to be for you to move as needed. This is a form of "bracketing", in other words a conditional move effectuated if the other side moves to your "fantasy" number. But what if they don't accept your bracket, and propose a different bracket? I call this "faux bracketing", and it is still effective in moving the parties more than they otherwise would by making straight number moves. These are some techniques to consider, with help from the mediator, to achieve settlement when it looks otherwise...impossible.

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