Never Offer to “Split the Difference”

As negotiating parties narrow the gap between them, it is often tempting to offer to “split the difference.” No matter how small that difference is, however, the normal counter-response is to offer to split the remaining difference, i.e., rejecting your 50% move and countering with 25%. A safer way to accomplish splitting the difference is to tell the mediator, “We will not make a further offer, but if the other side offers $X [= 50% of the difference between the parties] we will accept it.” This suggestion does not commit you ahead of the other side. If they choose to move less than 50%, you retain the option to do so as well.


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Bankruptcy Mediation is a treatise published by the American Bankruptcy Institute