Well, that lesson can be learned from the story of my second client in the tale of two mediations.
‘Adam’ is an unassuming ‘ordinary’ small business owner. He could not be more different to ‘John’, my client in the last blog article who achieved success through his readiness, willingness and ability to fight – and making those facts very clear to his opponent.
Adam, in contrast, typifies calm, always listening and following my advice.
In my experience, the best results are achieved when I do the talking at Court, in a mediation or at any other meeting that I attend with our opponent/s. There are many reasons for that, including allowing me – as the objective, experienced professional - to control the flow of information.
At this mediation with Adam, both parties tried to hold their cards to their respective chests, not saying anything. It was only in one of the heated exchanges between me and the other lawyer, that I noticed that his client’s body language was relating an entirely different story. Whilst his lawyer was spewing forth fire and brimstone, he was singing like a canary – all without saying a word!
Thankfully, my client kept his poker face - and poker body.
The result was that I exploited the weakness of the other party to win a major victory for my client.
This occurred in the presence of the opposing lawyer who clearly had no idea how his case had crumbled.
This victory demonstrates another principle from Sun Tzu in the “Art of War”, which is - the first rule of conflict is to know, and win the battle over, oneself. This should be obvious to everyone, but it remains remarkable how quickly people forget it – to their great financial cost.