Thou Shalt Do Thine Own Research, ascertaining thine own market value and learning what thine bargaining partner wishes to accomplish, to whom she must answer, what interests she must satisfy and what she most fears and desires.

Thou Shalt Make the First Proposal, framing thine own goods or services in the most favorable light and anchoring high enough to give thee sufficient room to make at least three bargained-for concessions.

Thou Shalt Ask Thine Bargaining Partner Open-Ended Questions to learn that which thine own research cannot ascertain, assuring thine bargaining partner that two canst make a better deal for both than either canst serve thine own needs alone.

Thou Shalt Name Thine Own Concessions and Beseech Thine Bargaining Partner to Reciprocate with the same degree of difficulty with which thine own concessions were made.

Thou Shalt Make No Assumptions, actively listening to thine bargaining partner by beseeching her to share her desires, needs, fears, preferences, priorities, constraints and hidden stakeholders for the purpose of better understanding what thou might deliver to her and she might trade with thee to increase both thine fortunes.

Thou Shalt Log Roll, offering to trade items of low cost to thee but high value to thine bargaining partner and seeking items of high value to thee but low cost to thine bargaining partner.

Thou Shalt Not Split the Baby, as the story of the wise King Solomon teaches us. Offering to split the baby demonstrates indifference to the welfare of the value being bargained for, besmirching thine honor. It has oft been said – indeed it has been written – that any yutz with ears can divide by two.

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by Victoria Pynchon

Victoria Pynchon is an attorney-mediator and arbitrator. She is also a principal in the She Negotiates Consulting and Training firm for which her blog “She Negotiates” is named. In addition to writing for the legal blog “On the Docket,” Pynchon also authored the book “A is for A**hole, the Grownups' ABCs of Conflict Resolution.