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Picture your last mediation. Chances are you started with an extreme position, stubbornly holding to it while hiding your true views about the strength of your case, and made small concessions only to keep the negotiation going. Many lawyers resort to this style of “positional bargaining” as described by Fisher and Ury in their popular book, “Getting to Yes.” Recognizing that the people behind the conflict are humans and that humans are emotional beings, tapping into the emotional intelligence of your opponent can make the difference in whether a negotiation ends in success.

As any litigator knows, conflicts and lawsuits can bring emotional and sometimes irrational thoughts. Invoking psychological skills to better understand who your opposing party is, what they want and how to influence them to do what you need them to do can be important to resolving your client’s conflict. Next time you find yourself in a heated negotiation, try these five tactics to influence a behavioral change to get voluntary compliance by all sides.

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