Love Sandwich

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Identification

This is a communications dynamic of give/ask/give, for example: give a compliment, make an unpleasant ask, give another compliment. We start our offer with positive things, insert the bad, and end with another good thing so the negative is de-emphasized and overlooked. It is generally required in written communications to be effective but works orally as well.

Example

An example of this tactic is as follows (+/- added for emphasis): Prosecuting District Attorney: Your client goes free today (+), he accepts the no-brainer plea deal (-), and we avoid a lengthy jury trial (+). Public Defender: Thank you for the kind offer (+). Slow it down. You have one eye witness who was treated for macular degeneration two years ago, and one paid informant that was under the influence of LSD. This plea is a not a no-brainer; my client will be pleading to a felony, be unable to vote, and his second amendment rights will be taken away. This is an honest man’s life here. We are going to trial (-). But thank you for your openness and professionalism, and I know we can come to a fair and just conclusion (+).

Solution

Slow it down and take the sandwich apart. Emphasize the bad part of the love sandwich: the middle part. Call out the impact of the bad parts. No deal unless the middle is addressed to meet your need. An open-ended question is a great counter tactic.

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