Arnold Swartz and Associates
Business and Family Mediation
To help someone be at his/her best in a negotiation situation.
Negotiation formats vary in the degree of structure. Generally, the higher the level of trust between the parties, the less structure that is needed. Some examples of formats from the least amount of structure to the most are:
Direct discussion between the parties with no one else involved.
Direct discussion with the help of a facilitator or mediator.
Collaborative law process where attorneys actively participate in the negotiation process as advisors and spokespersons for their clients, but not in an adversarial manner. Other professionals may participate as needed.
Negotiations through and/or with the assistance of attorneys who represent their clients in an adversarial, litigation mode.
Settlement conference situation, where the parties and their attorneys go before a person of authority (attorney, judge, former judge, etc.), who uses experience and expertise to push them to make an agreement. Often times, that person shuttles between the parties who are kept in separate rooms. This may occur just shortly before they are scheduled for a court hearing.
*A Negotiation Consultant can be a valuable asset, regardless of the level of structure.
FOCUS ON INTERESTS, NOT POSITIONS:
When the parties focus on interests rather than positions, better outcomes occur in negotiations. A position is a specific substantive outcome that one desires. For example, “I want to keep the house”. An interest is the underlying need which one perceives can be met by a substantive outcome. For example, “I need a comfortable, affordable place to live for me and the children when they are in my care.”
NEGOTIATION CONSULTATION PROCESS:
Negotiation consultation is a comprehensive process, which includes the following steps:
Obtain background information about the circumstances and people involved.
Specify all of the issues that need to be addressed.
Identify the needs and interests of the client.
Identify the needs and interests of all other affected parties.
Obtain all necessary data about the various issues, including documentation.
Identify and evaluate all possible solutions.
Choose strategy for presenting proposal(s).
Re-evaluate proposals throughout the give and take of the negotiation process.
1. Preparation: One will be fully prepared to proceed in the negotiation situation.
2. Durable Agreement. An agreement which is based on meeting the needs of all affected parties is likely to work and last longer.
3. Co-operative Relationship. If the parties need to maintain an ongoing relationship, they are more likely to do so in a cooperative, business-like manner rather than in an adversarial manner.
4. Utility for the Future. The process and skills one learns through participation in Negotiation Consultation can be used in future negotiation situations with the same party and/or with others.