Splitting the Benefits / Combining Negatives

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Identification

This tactic is a version of the Love Sandwich, with a pickle. It is a very effective strategy which may leave us with an outcome we do not want. It involves parsing out the plusses individually, and combining the negatives in one lump. Studies show that agreement is more likely when this approach is used[xi].

Example

For example, consider the following dialog in a divorce property settlement: Negotiator 1: You have my position. I want everything 50/50.Negotiator 2: You have the children 50% of the time and 50% of your pension and you will pay no alimony to him. You’re getting everything you want, essentially. The other assets are incidental and are not the big targets here.

Solution

The solution to this is to 1. call it out and disaggregate the lump; and 2. focus on the bottom line. In the above example, Negotiator 1 would come back with: “Wait a minute the ‘incidental’ assets are the Karmann Ghia, 4,000 square foot house, the Bösendorfer, and the Mefasa Asturias sailing yacht. I know you front-loaded this with the 50/50 components, but the back end is more like 10/90. Let’s get an appraisal to see if I am indeed ‘getting everything I want, essentially.’” Here, the focus is the bottom line.

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