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In Place of Strife

The Mediation Chambers

Giving to receive?

One question that I am often asked is "How do I break deadlock in a mediation?"

Although there are many tactics that parties and mediators can use, one thing I have found very powerful is the giving of a concession. According to Robert Cialdini’s work, “Influence - The Psychology of Persuasion”, this is not surprising. The answer is found in his theory of reciprocation, which claims that we feel obliged to make a concession to someone who has made a concession to us.

So, next time you are facing what seems like an intractable deadlock, it might be worth considering whether there is something you can give to the other party, or a point that you can concede, to inspire a corresponding response.

Mediator: Rebecca Clark

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