When the Other Side is Not Flexible: The Best Methods for Negotiating Challenge
It would be wonderful if all negotiations were cut and dry, with all parties involved approaching the process with an open mind and open heart, resulting in agreements reached seamlessly and no conflict; however, that is all too often not the case and you will be forced into negotiating challenge. As an attorney, you will find that your life is filled with negotiations of every kind, and most of them must be controlled strategically. Giving answers in a hurry, hoping to get a phone call out of the way or a quick agreement off your list of things to do could end badly. Information is key in nearly every negotiation setting—no matter how small it may seem. Getting you or your client to answer or decide on a question or issue in a hurry is a common tactic also.
But what about the negotiation where you are up against a complete stalemate? You may have done everything right, from taking time to research and find out all background possible, to listening intently and gleaning as much information as possible from the very beginning (and this can be one of the most difficult feats, as even the best and brightest often can’t wait to jump in and start talking). Perhaps you have even set aside your typical aggressive tactics for a more cooperative demeanor in attempting for a win-win between both parties.
After talking to your client about their goals and what they will agree to accept in the worst-case scenario, setting up an appropriate atmosphere, and spending hours engaged in talks, you may be extremely disappointed to find yourself dealing with an inflexible opponent who seems immune to every one of your strategies. This is the time to take a big step back, discuss the current situation with your client, and take a collective deep breath as you consider other options or compromises.
During a situation like this, it is best to approach the slow-down in negotiations head-on, acknowledging that there seems to be a major obstacle, and discussing how to get past it, along with asking as many non-confrontational questions as possible to help you figure out a way to eliminate the impasse. Also, come back to the table armed with information from your client regarding what lengths they are willing to go to in reaching a compromise.
Is there something more your client can offer—something enticing to the other side that would not be impossible for your client to give up? Is there a way to divert the discussion to another way of thinking that may help break everyone break free from a standstill? Put the focus on why the negotiations are so important, and identify common ground, looking for ways to continue moving ahead.
Are you interested in becoming a skilled lawyer and negotiator? Our mission at CDTA College of Law is to educate, train, and develop extraordinary legal advocates. Your legal education will be comprised of bar-tested academic subjects, skills training, and values reinforcement. Upon completion of your four-year course of study you will be fully qualified to take and pass the California Bar examination. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here