Take a look at Geoff Sharp’s post on the so-called pure money case and then please please please send me your stories on meaning-making about money in the course of mediated or non-mediated negotiations.
What do I mean by “meaning making”?
Let me give you an example of the type of story I’m looking for.
I was mediating a personal injury case and we’d reached impasse. The Plaintiff was having trouble understanding how the amounts of money being discussed could possibly adequately compensate her for her injury — a self-report of daily 3-hour headaches.
After much discussion I sat down with my calculator and “translated” the final offer of settlement into an hourly wage for two years worth of headaches “if suffering were your full-time job.”
The resulting “hourly income” was pretty substantial when viewed as an hourly payment for pain. This way of presenting defendant’s offer broke the impasse.
Before we translated the total settlement offer (minus costs and fees) into a compensation scheme familiar to the Plaintiff — an hourly wage — she had no metric against which to value that offer. The money wasn’t real until she understood it in terms of earnings.
I’ve heard many other stories like this but my appetite for them is insatiable. Whenever a mediator or lawyer tells me a story like this, I am always inspired and heartened. Their telling also helps me become better at facilitating “pure money” negotiations. I’m hoping they will also be useful to my readers.
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