4 Secrets of Successful Negotiations That Everyone Should Know

Very often, negotiations are conducted with an expectation that one party will “win” and the other will “lose.”  At other times, parties focus their energies on trying to give up as little as possible.

Neither approach is productive and most often results in an impasse, where the parties are unable to make progress.

Here are 4 secrets of successful negotiations that you can access whenever you find yourself at an impasse:

1.    Find interests that you both share. For instance, perhaps both of you agree that you want to stay out of court.  Specifically, in divorce where there are children, you both want your children to remain in the marital home until they finish with elementary school.

2.   Determine the priorities of each party.  Often in a dispute, both sides focus primarily on money.  It’s likely, however, that each party will value certain issues more than others.

In a divorce negotiation, for instance, it might be more important to the husband to keep his pension and more important to Wife that she have more cash up front to meet initial expenses after the divorce.

Perhaps the Husband has liquid assets that are not as important for him to retain given substantial income from his employment. 

Resolution could be achieved by the wife retaining certain liquid assets in exchange for the Husband keeping his pension.

3.   Create value where the parties disagree on events that could happen in the future.

Perhaps one party proposes that the other receive real estate, claiming that its value will increase over time.  The other side, however, fears the property value will decline as a result of re-zoning presently in progress.

The parties might agree to obtain an independent appraisal after three years to assess the value of the property.  If the value does decline, then perhaps the party offering the property compensates the other.

4.   Address potential compliance concerns up front.

A concern by one party that the other will not comply with his or her obligations can impede resolution.  Smart negotiators will often include a provision that has “teeth,” a self-executing mechanism that is automatically triggered when the obligated party fails to comply.

For example, the husband and wife in a divorce negotiation might agree to co-own the marital residence until the children complete high school.  The Wife is obligated to timely pay the mortgage and Husband agrees to contribute to certain expenses of the Wife. 

The parties might agree that if the Wife misses a mortgage payment, the husband withholds his financial contribution to the wife and uses it to bring the mortgage current.  There might also be a provision that provides if the Wife misses two mortgage payments, the home gets listed for sale.

When the parties are at impasse, they can move ahead by thinking of creative solutions that address their particular interests and concerns.

Contact me directly for more information on how to successfully negotiate your divorce or post-divorce conflict.





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