Want to Kill a Mediation or Negotiation?

Want to kill a mediation or negotiation? These three statements will do it!

Most mediations start with a joint conference. Since it sets the tone for the rest of the negotiations, you want the joint conference to go well. So here are three things you should avoid saying during your opening statement.

1. “It’s all your fault.”

The point of mediation is to settle the case, and what you do — including what you say during the opening statement — should help you toward your goal, not steer you away from it. A contentious opening statement sets the wrong tone.

2. “Here is a bunch of new information that changes the value of the case.”

If at all possible, you want to be sure the other side has all the information they need to evaluate the case well in advance of the mediation. If you offer brand-new information on the day of the mediation, it reduces your chances of settling the case at all, and drastically reduces the chances you can settle at the mediation.

3. “I know we demanded (offered) $x before, but we are going to have to demand more (offer less) now.”

Nothing kills a mediation faster than violating the expectations of the other side. If at all possible, you do not want to start a mediation by taking your demand higher, or your offer lower.