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Volume V, Number 1 • January 2012 • Archive of Past Issues
An E-Publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association
Written by Linda B. Bulmash

This Month's Topic:

The Power of Persuasion in Mediation and Negotiation

Dr. Robert Caldini, Regents Professor of Social Psychology at Arizona State University is one of the leading social scientists in the field of influence and persuasion. He has identified six universal principles through observing "compliance professionals" in the market place **. These six principles are at work in virtually every negotiation/mediation.

Mediations are assisted negotiations. The best mediators think in terms of using the following universal principles to get you what you want and resist the impact these principles are having on your decision making. You can use these as well.

1. RECIPROCITY. People feel obligated to give back to people who have given to them. This is a method for survival. And so the theories of "Tit for Tat", the "golden rule" and "an eye for an eye".

2. LIKING. People are more likely to say yes to people who they like and know. People like people who are similar to them and with whom they are comfortable.

3. CONSENSUS. People like to do what is comfortable and make choices based on what others similarly situated are doing.

4. AUTHORITY. People make decisions often in reliance on the opinion/guidance of those with apparent superior knowledge. Actual superior knowledge is not necessary, e.g. actors who look like doctors make commercials touting certain medications.

5. CONSISTENCY. Once people make a decision or invest their resources (time, money, emotions) they feel pressure to continue with that commitment. Get them to say "yes" about small things and it is easier to get them to say "yes" about bigger things.

6. SCARCITY. People value things that are less available. Willingness to buy an item increases when a time limit is set or, as in the case of diamonds, they pay more because they believe the supply is limited.

** Caldini, Dr. Robert: "Influence, Science and Practice" (Fourth Edition, Allyn & Bacon)

LACBA member Linda B. Bulmash, Esq.,
writes the Negotiation Tips.
You can contact her at:
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