10 Secrets of Negotiation in a Business Dispute

  1. You have already explained your side of the dispute; mediation is not to argue your merits but to reach a deal… the best of a bad situation. If the only option is full payment, negotiation is not really appropriate.
  2. Consider all elements of your claim including under settling, omitting important issues (time for payment) and RISK of failing to mediate and having to go to court.
  3. PREPARE:-
    1. Have all figures / losses / costs clearly set out;
    2. Set limits;
    3. Assess your Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement: – What is the cost if negotiation fails- in time and fees?
    4. Ensure that you have written authority to settle at agreed limits;
    5. Consider various bargaining points- Payment of money – Time for payment – Payment in kind – Post-dated payment- transfer of assets;
    6. Consider concessions- what you can sacrifice and what you can give;
  4. Be CALM! Consider how someone would persuade you- with warmth and respect or with Demands. It’s warmth and respect isn’t it?
  5. Consider the costs and risk of both parties of not reaching a deal – be prepared to communicate this with honesty.
  6. Be realistic in your approach and consider 50:50 as a starting point and work from there.
  7. Consider making the first offer and any concessions. Allow the other side to believe that they are getting the better settlement.
  8. Have the “I WILL SETTLE THIS TODAY” mindset. Pre draft a number of acceptable proposals and the margins of acceptable reduction to each proposal.
  9. Ensure people with knowledge of the dispute are available.
  10. Even at mediation new facts can arise. Take time to reassess your case if necessary… don’t be afraid of seeking a short break to re-consider.