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Start with the end in mind to avoid being inconsistent!

 September 2019 |  Martin Fuller

Whenever we undertake any task, conversation or position, it is important that we remain consistent. This need to be consistent is an overriding human desire, and can in certain circumstances be used against you in litigation or negotiation.

The problem is that people who are consistent are often perceived as being of strong character, intellectually sound and an all round good person. People who are perceived as being inconsistent are considered to be weak, indecisive, deceitful and in some cases mentally ill. Accordingly, once you have made a decision, it can be very hard to retract that decision even if it is wrong, as your need to appear consistent is greater than your need to get to the correct solution.

There are a number of situations I have come across in both litigation and negotiation where a party has agreed something, in the absence of legal advice, which is clearly not in in their best interests. But they would rather take the poor deal then retract from the same. This is the power of being consistent. So, you must be careful when negotiating without full knowledge of your entitlement, because a skilled negotiator or stronger party can manipulate the process to get you to agree to a position which you cannot then depart from.

Another problem with negotiating without skilled assistance, is that you may be negotiating with a person who is not consistent. The first you might know about this is when they retract from their part of the deal, only to leave you feeling bound by your word. This is uncomfortable, and whilst in the abstract you might say I would consider the deal off - this is not always the case.   

So to ensure that you do not get caught up in the other party’s inconsistency, it is important to know before you start what the agreement or settlement looks like. This ensures firstly that you do not agree to something that does not take you away from your objective and you remain consistent. Perhaps more importantly you do not get caught up in the other parties ‘inconsistencies’ because you have your objective clearly in your mind before you start.

Before any negotiations, especially if you are not a trained negotiator you should first seek advice on your entitlements and likely outcome of any court decision so you can decide how to prepare your argument and keep you focused on what you need to achieve for a satisfactory outcome.

We offer a two hour negotiation preparation/strategy meeting which comes with a money back guarantee.  

If you would like to find out more about how Fullers can help please contact reception on 01234 343134 or email us at enquiries@fullersfamilylaw.com


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