Rule 5: Closure
Rule 5.1: Don't blow the end game.
Master Negotiators know how to close. They consider every element of closure: when, where, documentation, pending issues. Novices either rush the end game or delay it interminably, with equally bad results. Rushing the end game usually means slapping a contract together with little time or thought; its ambiguities and deficiencies inevitably result in disputes. Delaying the end game means failing to "strike when the iron is hot"; if you wait long enough, something will happen to prevent closure. Time kills deals.
Rule 5.2: Strive for a "wise agreement".
"Any Method of Negotiation may be fairly judged by three criteria: It should produce a wise agreement. It should be efficient. And it should improve or at least not damage the relationship between the parties. (A wise agreement can be defined as one that meets the legitimate interests of each side to the extent possible, resolves the conflicting interests fairly, is durable, and takes community interests into account). ... Arguing over positions produces unwise agreements. ... As more attention is paid to positions, less attention is devoted to meeting the underlying concerns of the parties." 76
Rule 5.3: Pay attention to details, but don't sweat the small stuff.
Here, again, the middle way is the correct path. You can kill a deal by being too particular just like you can by delaying closure. Master Negotiators are careful about closing, but they do not let petty issues prevent closing.
"Don't fuss with minutiae. Let your counterpart take home some trinkets, even where both the leverage and the logic are on your side."77
Rule 5.4: Don't neglect emotional closure.
Lawyers are great at analyzing legal issues, negotiating agreements, and closing agreements concerning legal issues. But, in situations where people will have a relationship after they sign the agreement, they would be smart to make sure that they have tended to the emotional issues, otherwise the legal agreement may suffer the consequences of any structure with a faulty foundation. Many times, especially in family disputes, agreements addressing emotional issues can be, and should be, intricate and involved. But, as Fisher and Ury advise, "an apology may be one of the least costly and most rewarding investments you can make". 78
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