Rule Two: Do Not Give Ultimata
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Certainly, some issues are more important than others. There may even be issues that are non-negotiable. But stating these in the form of ultimata stops the negotiating process in its tracks.
Which of the following tactics, for example, are more likely to bring about a measured response leading to discussions of settlement and compromise:
Approach A: Here is a settlement proposal. You have 48 hours to accept it or it is withdrawn.
Approach B: Here is a settlement proposal. It contains what we believe to be reasonable positions on all issues. If you or your client disagree, then please provide us with the reasons you disagree and what you think would be reasonable under the circumstances.
Clearly, Approach A puts the other side on the defensive. It is essentially asking for a fight and most lawyers do not need more than one invitation. On the other hand, Approach B is far more likely to bring out the type of reasonable discourse which can lead to a settlement.
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