Tips For Successful Negotiations From The Prospective Of A Mediator – Part 2

In Part 1 of this blog, I discussed some of the “bad” negotiation tactics that derail settlement, as well as provided five tips for successful negotiations.  Below are seven additional tips for negotiations.

6.    Understand your options.  Have a Plan B ready – what you can do if settlement fails.  That way, you can determine whether what is being offered in the negotiation / mediation is better or worse than that.  You do not want to walk away from potential settlement and then realize that the offer was better than any other option you have.

7.    Understand the other party’s options and risks, as well as all aspects of the dispute.  By doing your homework, you will help ensure your credibility, making the other party more likely to listen to your suggestions.  Further, a lack of information often stalls or prevents settlement.

8.    It is ok to be assertive.  By being assertive, you are standing up for what you really want.  Being assertive is not the same thing as being aggressive.  However, before you are assertive, make sure you are advocating for what you really want, and not just your negotiating position or your best case scenario.

9.    It is ok to be optimistic.  While you should not start with a ridiculous position (thereby losing credibility), in many circumstances, it is ok to start higher than where you want to end up.  By leaving some wiggle room, and allowing the other party to make a counter-offer that permits a compromise to ensue, you will make both parties feel better about the outcome.  Both parties will feel like they did not leave anything on the table.

10.    Suggest bilateral compromises.  If you are asking for a compromise, find something that you can give up, and vice versa. By requiring mutual concessions, both parties will value the concessions more and not expect something for nothing.

11.    Don’t take it personally.  Remember that your job is not to preserve your ego, but to get a good settlement.  If the other negotiator is offensive, don’t let that fact derails a settlement that will benefit you.

12.    Be patient.  Good settlements sometimes take time.  You do not want to rush and make mistakes or limit the negations time table, only to spend much more time addressing the fallout from a failed negotiation, like litigation.

Alona M. Gottfried is a mediator and attorney in Arizona.  If you have questions about mediation, she can be reached at: 480-998-1500 or  This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be legal advice.  See a legal professional before making legal decisions.

Simmons & Gottfried, PLLC
8160 E. Butherus Dr., Suite #7
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

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