Goal Oriented Negotiation: If this world were mine…

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November 12, 2012 by williamsjustliving

You should definitely ask yourself this before you walk into a lawyer’s office, particularly if you are dealing with an employment issue, a personal injury issue, or a family law issue: “If this world were mine, what solution would I choose for this issue?” The answer to that question gives you your ideal solution.

Now, take a moment and think about a worst case scenario. Imagine that you actually went to trial (or to mediation) and you lost…you got nothing…absolutely nothing. In that moment of shock, imagine yourself finishing this sentence: “If only I could have at least gotten ________.” The completion of that sentence gives you the absolute least that would provide you with satisfaction of some sort.

If your attorney is in a position to negotiate on your behalf, she has to have a starting point and an ending point (the ending point of negotiation sometimes means that the litigation process will begin). It is your job as the client to be both honest and reasonable with your attorney about both of those points.

When it comes to negotiation and mediation, you should also think about non-monetary resolutions. Is an apology important to you? Do you want the company/entity to provide some type of training to employees? Do you want continuing health care? Do you want your car repaired? To be sure, these types of resolutions can be worth money, but your attorney can express them at the negotiating table in non-monetary terms. Think about this way: getting your car repaired might cost $6,000. The person sitting across the negotiating table, however, may be able to get it done for less. But, if your goal is to get your car repaired it should not matter to you how much it costs the other party–as long as it doesn’t cost you anything.

As the client, you need to stay goal oriented during the negotiation and mediation process. So, you need to start out with clear goals in mind.


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