Multiple Equivalent Simultaneous Offers (MESOs) is a negotiation technique where one party presents several distinct offers, each of which holds equal value to them, to the other party simultaneously. These offers are designed to address different aspects of the negotiation and provide flexibility to the other party in choosing the most appealing option.

Key characteristics of Multiple Equivalent Simultaneous Offers (MESOs) include:

  1. Equal Value: Each offer in the MESO is perceived to have the same overall value from the perspective of the offering party. However, the options may differ in their specific terms or conditions.
  2. Diverse Options: The offers vary in terms of what they entail, such as price, quantity, delivery terms, or additional benefits. This diversity allows the offering party to gauge the other party’s preferences.
  3. Avoiding Concession Fatigue: By presenting multiple offers simultaneously, the offering party seeks to prevent the other party from experiencing concession fatigue, where continuous concessions lead to reduced perceived value.
  4. Reducing Information Asymmetry: MESOs can reveal the other party’s priorities and interests, as they may be more inclined to choose an offer that aligns with their preferences.
  5. Enhancing Collaboration: The presentation of MESOs encourages the other party to consider different combinations of the offers and stimulates more creative problem-solving and collaboration.
  6. Overcoming Deadlock: In situations where the negotiation has reached an impasse or deadlock, presenting MESOs can break the stalemate and reopen the negotiation process.
  7. Testing the Waters: MESOs serve as a way for the offering party to test the other party’s reactions and determine what aspects of the offers are more appealing.
  8. Facilitating Mutual Gains: By presenting multiple options, the offering party aims to find a solution that maximizes value for both parties and leads to a win-win outcome.

Let’s consider an example of a Multiple Equivalent Simultaneous Offer (MESO) in a salary negotiation scenario:

Imagine a job candidate, Pablo, is negotiating his compensation package. The company is willing to offer him the position with a salary in the range of €50,000 to €60,000 per year. Instead of presenting a single fixed salary offer, the company decides to provide Pablo with a MESO that includes three distinct options:

In this example, all three options have equal value to the company, as they fall within the acceptable salary range they are willing to offer. However, each option presents a different combination of salary and paid vacation days, giving Pablo the flexibility to choose the offer that best aligns with his priorities and preferences.

Pablo could evaluate each option based on his personal needs and priorities. If he values a higher salary and is willing to have fewer vacation days, he might choose Option 3. On the other hand, if he prioritizes work-life balance and more time off to enjoy holidays, he might prefer Option 2. Option 1 could be appealing if he seeks a middle ground between salary and vacation days.

The company benefits from presenting a MESO because it gains insights into Pablo’s preferences and can structure a compensation package that maximizes his satisfaction within the defined salary range. The MESO approach facilitates a collaborative negotiation process where both parties work together to find a mutually beneficial solution.

MESOs can be a powerful strategy in negotiations, especially when parties have diverse interests or when it’s challenging to identify a single optimal solution. They provide negotiators with more information about the other party’s preferences and can help bridge differences to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement. Additionally, MESOs promote a collaborative negotiation environment by encouraging joint problem-solving and exploration of various possibilities.