Settlement Negotiating Tactics

In a theoretically perfect world of conflicts, settlements are always successfully pursued and negotiated for the resolve of all parties affected.

In reality, in the litigious culture we live in, everyone wants their share, and sometimes more than that, in order to walk as the exclusive victor in a matter. Below are some tactics for facilitators, attorneys, mediators and individuals looking to leave a conflict with resolution for all interests, peace of mind, and inevitably an opportunity to carve out a new mode for conflict resolution from the parties perspective.

1) Know what you want and what your adversary wants. Identifying what the key issues are, though seemingly apparent, strips the conflict of needless grappling, emotional drudging and non issues.

2) Then clearly identify the grey area where both wants are met, even though not to the extent originally proffered. The place of fairness, equity and truth. Try to assist your side (or both sides if you are a mediator) to loosen their grip on their version of what success is in the instance. Encourage the notion that a settlement option is usually the best option in terms of cost, time and aggravation.

3) Allow your party to vent off their version of victimhood. If possible, assist your party in re-perceiving the events so that at least they can take responsibility for the escalation of the conflict and to show the valor of relenting to avoid further costs and time. Reasoning that life is always fair, and cutting a deal in one instance may lead themselves to be cut a deal in another matter in their lives. Life is circular.

4) Close the deal. Try to cast aside the egos and get the parties to sign the dotted line of a fair, adequate settlement agreement were all parties walk with dignity, integrity and overall appreciative for the time and costs saved, and the return to more productive endeavors.

Settlements are not always possible, and not always a preferably method to dealing with conflict, but they are usually the most cost/time effective. Bringing honesty into your clients (or your own) purview helps to loosen the grips the ego may have over a matter. After all we are responsible for what we experience in our lives. Changing our approach, and our ability to be flexible with life, will inevitably change the experiences we draw into our lives.

Caitlin Hayes is a NY licensed attorney, an international consultant and an often unlikely mediator in conflicts, both inner and outer. More information can be found at and

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