Seven Elements of Negotiation: Part 1, Interests

7 Elements of Negotiation
Part 1: Interests

We all know that everyone negotiates. We all know that we have been negotiating since we were babies, the difference now compared to then is that as a baby, our method of negotiating was crying whereas hopefully now we have a few more tools in our mediator/negotiator toolbox.

Every negotiation, according to Roger Fisher of Harvard's Program on Negotiation, has seven distinguishable elements that are interconnected. They are:
  1. Interests

  2. Alternatives

  3. Relationship

  4. Options

  5. Legitimacy

  6. Communication

  7. Commitment
As a negotiator, during your preparation (remember how important preparing is?), you can use these 7 elements to create your gameplan.

As a mediator, it is important to remember these as you can help the parties move forward, move from positions to interests, and keeping the 7 in mind, it helps move from stalemates (among many other positive uses).

Regardless of how you mediate or negotiate, the 7 elements are always present in negotiations. What changes is the importance of one over the other. An example is having your interests met in a particular negotiation might far outway the future relationship you will have with the other party.

I am going to breakdown the 7 elements into seperate posts by day as a way to get you to keep coming back to my blog (wait, did I just think that or type it?!?).

Seriously, I am breaking it down element by element to keep the theme of my posts being quick reads, but after the seventh one, I will make a posting having all seven in one place for easier future references.


Negotiating based on interests has many positive attributes to it. But what does 'interests' mean?
  • I want him to pay me

  • I want the radio to stop being so loud

  • I want my money back
Guess what? Those are positions- not interests. The above are what you want to accomplish. To create a greater chance of a mutually beneficial agreement, negotiate on interests over postitions. When you negotiate on positions, both sides have a tendency to dig their heels in, get stuck in their thoughts, spend most of the negotiation defending their postition and attacking the others.

Interest based negotiationg on the otherhand creates more of a collaborative environment and expands your options. By doing this, its creates a win-win opportunity compared to the combative me versus you/win-lose situation.

Using the above listed examples of positions, possible interests behind them could include:
  • I feel like I was cheated and disrespected

  • I need my rest, I go to bed early because I work the early shift

  • I paid for a service that I feel I did not get and I am frustrated
Your interests represents your needs, hopes and concerns.

Ok, now you know your interests, so you think you are done right? Wrong, you are only halfway there. It is great you know your interests, but in order for the negotiation to get a successful outcome, the agreement must be beneficial to both parties. So yes, you guessed it, you have to figure out the other party's interests too.

Figuring out their interests provides you with many benefits. For one thing, it prepares you on how they may or may not respond to your needs. Also, knowing their interests helps you find out what their alternatives are.
read more "Seven Elements of Negotiation: Part 1, Interests"

Mediation & ADR News

Benefits of Disagreeing
Hey- everyone's favorite other-Jeff-really-Geoff-mediator-blogger Geoff Sharpe is quoted throughout an article with the above title. Btw, his great blog, Mediator Blah Blah, is over [here].

Some tidbits from the article:
"There's quite a bit of debate among mediators globally whether this environment will mean more mediation, and certainly my experience in the first couple of months of the year is, absolutely," Wellington lawyer and commercial mediator Geoff Sharp said.

"It works best when there are commercial relationships to be saved which won't survive, normally, a knock-them-down, drag-em-out court trial," Mr Sharp said.
"Examples of that are commercial landlords and tenants; contracting parties who are locked into long-term supplier contracts who have a dispute or difference but are going to have to deal with each other in future. That's where mediation really comes into its own."

And for those who want statistics:
Ms Powell said a stalemate situation rarely occurred, with around 80 to 90 per cent of disputes through the High Court resolved through an agreement in writing.
Read the Full article [here]

Mediators Flourish in Tough Economy
A weak economy and dwindling personal finances have impacted when and how married couples get a divorce in the Charlottesville area.
Local mediation groups and lawyers have reported changes in how often couples seek mediation to draft a separation agreement and how long they’ll wait before filing for divorce.
The Mediation Center of Charlottesville has seen an increase in the number of couples wanting to use mediation to draft a separation agreement. Mediation is significantly cheaper than taking a divorce case to court.
Between July and Dec-ember 2008, the nonprofit center handled 2.1 self-referred mediations per month for couples who wanted to split. Since the start of 2009, the center is averaging five self-referred mediations a month.

Read more [here]

Obama Names Michigan Mediator to US Board
WASHINGTON, March 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) congratulated the Obama Administration today for their appointment of Linda Puchala to the National Mediation Board (NMB). When confirmed, Puchala will replace a current board member who was a hold-over appointment from the Bush Administration since July 2006.
"We are very pleased with White House's choice and believe Linda's consensus-building skills and commitment to the collective bargaining process will be a valuable addition to the agency which is so critical to labor relations in the aviation and railway industries," stated Patricia Friend, AFA-CWA International President.

Read the article [here]

Mediator Being Used in Contract Negotiations
The Germantown Education Association and the Germantown School District are utilizing a mediator as part of negotiations on a retroactive teachers contract covering the 2007-08 and 2008-09 school years.
Though negotiations with the GEA has been on the School Board's agenda for discussion in closed session for several months, Superintendent Kenneth Rogers said it was removed from the March 9 agenda until he receives more information from the mediator.
"We really don't have a time line at this point, other than that we are trying to settle this as soon as possible," Rogers said.

Full story [here]
read more "Mediation & ADR News"

Treat All Negotiators As Your Equal

Treat All Negotiators As Your Equal
Why? Well, firstly because treating others like enemies is for violent conflict and that is what we are trying to avoid with a negotiation/mediation, right? Treating the other person(s) like your equal has many advantages. One is as the mediator, if you are trying to show your neutrality, the best way is to treat both sides equal. It doesn't matter if you do not like or can not stand the position of a certain party.

A friendly reminder is that you are neutral and being so will help move the mediation along. Oh, and one important tip- if you feel you can not be, or remain neutral during the negotiation, you will not be stoned by some secret mediators society (... I think) for removing yourself.

Regardless if you are the mediator or a negotiation, treating the other(s) as an equal has many benefits. Let's look at a couple of the good traits of a mediator and negotiator and see if they could apply if you didn't give the other party respect:

Active Listening
Can you really listen to this person if you are not respecting them? Are you listening or just waiting for them to finish to counter their claim? Have you begun to try and look at their interests (you know- go beyond the positions)?

Actively listening is one of the best ways to show the other party your respect them and want to hear what they have to say.

Body Language
Yes, body language is important. Using it properly shows you are actively listening. First though, let me mention the negative- if you want to show the other negotiator you are there to put down everything he says and not actively listen do these: roll your eyes, look away (heck turn your body away too!), cross your arms, sigh, huff and puff (the more the better!) and finally point your finger, that will really get your point of disrespect across.

Just a reminder, the above are suggestions of what not to do :)

So what kinds of body language can you do that supports showing the other person you are treating them with respect, and actively listening? Some basics include nodding, facing the person when they are talking, saying 'ok' at times, hands folded on your lap or when talking 'open-handed gestures' and finally my personal favorite is to smile. yes, it is ok to smile, and it's one way to lighten the mood while also promoting friendliness.

An excellent way to genuinely give the other negotiator the feeling of respect and treating them as your equal is to put yourself in their shoes. This goes back to your preparation of your negotiation and should continue during the course of it as well. Ask yourself- what are they feeling? What are their interests? How would they like it if I offer this or that? Remember, in order for an agreement to be reached, both parties have to agree, so a good way to try and meet their goals (along with yours) is by using empathy.

Staying Positive
You attack enemies, not equals. You are hard on the problems not the person. Keeping those two statements in mind (and keeping this simple and brief) remember- just like how negative comments and actions are contagious, so are positive ones. Regardless of their actions, by staying positive helps show you are trying to work with them as well as respecting them.

Don't forget, a reason you chose to go to a negotiation/mediation is to try to work things out. Treating the other neogtiator as your equal helps create an atmosphere of collaboration. The same goes for you if you are the mediator, treating both parties equally helps you- the professional- display that respect you are asking both of your parties to show one another.
read more "Treat All Negotiators As Your Equal"

Mobile Post

Today's Mobile Post

(it means I sent this via my mobile phone!)

Never underestimate the power of taking a break.

A good negotiator trys to never makes a quick decision. Being well prepared allows you to explore all possible options, tactics and offers that may arise.

That said, the unexpected will (and can) come up. Instead of reacting, the better option is responding. Sometimes you need to think about your response and to fully comprehend its full meaning. Taking a break can give you that time.

How to take a break:
Say you need to make a phone call
Say you need to take a break to get a drink of water
Say you need to use the bathroom
Ask to speak to the mediator separately or your partner (if you brought one)
Say there has been alot of things said, and you'd like to take a few minutes just to gather everything with the mindset of going forward

These are just a few examples, I am sure you have some too which are based on experience. Remember, slowing things down allows you to go forward. Also, by taking a break, it helps you maintain your self control.

(note: edited on a PC to add the photo & change fonts)
read more "Mobile Post"

March 10th, A Special Day

"I will remain committed to non-violence to my dying day."

-His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama.

I will keep today's post as short as possible to let the quote (hopefully) have as great of an impact as possible, especially given today's significant anniversary.
read more "March 10th, A Special Day"

Mediation & ADR News

Mediators Flourishing in Tough Economy
A weak economy and dwindling personal finances have impacted when and how married couples get a divorce in the Charlottesville area.
Local mediation groups and lawyers have reported changes in how often couples seek mediation to draft a separation agreement and how long they’ll wait before filing for divorce.
The Mediation Center of Charlottesville has seen an increase in the number of couples wanting to use mediation to draft a separation agreement. Mediation is significantly cheaper than taking a divorce case to court.
Between July and Dec-ember 2008, the nonprofit center handled 2.1 self-referred mediations per month for couples who wanted to split. Since the start of 2009, the center is averaging five self-referred mediations a month.

Full article [here]

Turkey Would Consider Mediating US-Iran Talks
Note the italicized section- no one has asked them yet.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey would consider serving as mediator between Iran and the United States, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said on Sunday after meeting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and shortly before leaving for Tehran.
Turkey would weigh any requests by the two sides to serve as a mediator and current efforts to open a dialogue are "an important opportunity," Babacan told reporters before leaving for Tehran for an Economic Cooperation Organization meeting chaired by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Full article [here]

25 Years of Community Mediation
The Mediation Center of Dutchess County has been around for 25 years. Happy anniversary to the many volunteer mediators who have made it work. They help reasonable people work out their differences...
...Between 1,100 and 1,300 cases a year are referred to the center with anywhere from a third to a half reaching mediation. The majority come from the courts - 12 town, village and city courts, Family Court and occasional Supreme Court referrals. Attorneys frequently refer cases or work in collaboration with the center. Referrals also come from schools. There are usually about 100 open cases in various stages of development.
Full article [here]

20 Group Negotiation Down to 18
WASHINGTON — Two labor unions have pulled out of a broad coalition seeking agreement on major changes in the health care system.
...The action, by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Service Employees International Union, shows the seeds of discord behind the optimistic talk at a White House conference on health care this week.
...Peter S. Adler, president of the Keystone Center, a nonprofit group facilitating the discussions, said the dialogue started with 20 participating organizations and now had 18.
Mr. Adler, a professional mediator with 30 years of experience, said the coalition had been meeting since September. It tentatively plans to issue recommendations later this month on how to rein in health costs and help achieve the goal of universal coverage. Congress is grappling with the same issues and is struggling to find bipartisan consensus.
Full article [here]

Are You Involved in International Patent Mediation/ Negotiation?
If yes, there is a suvery going on [here].
The Alternative Patent Dispute Resolution Project (”APDRP”) at Thomas Jefferson School of Law (”TJSL”) in San Diego, California is conducting an on-line survey of lawyers, judges, clerks and scholars such as you to gauge the industry’s perception of some fairly recent proposals to improve the current Federal patent adjudicative process in the United States and to encourage the use of alternatives thereto such as mediation and arbitration.
Copies of the results, when completed, will be made available as well as being published by the APDRP in a law review article.
Read the article and learn more [here]
read more "Mediation & ADR News"

Building a Golden Bridge

Building a Golden Bridge


What does a bridge, no less a 'golden' one, have to do with mediation and negotiation? Well, the term is from William Ury's book, Getting Past No [here at Amazon and many others].

Building a golden bridge refers to making sure you have satisfied and overcome the the four common obstacles to an agreement: involving them in devising a solution, meeting unmet interests, helping them save face and finally making the process as simple and easy as possible.

There is much more to just making an attractive offer to the other party. If the above listed criteria are not satisfied, you might find yourself making what you think is the best offer for them, and then surprisingly they reject it.

1) Have everyone involved in the building/writing the agreement
It is known that an agreement has a greater chance to be long lasting when the parties involved in the agreement also have input into what the agreement states. Even the best agreements can fail, or not even get finalized, if a party feels that they are being shut out. Simple ways to ensure everyone is involved is to ask them questions like, "what do you think?", "how do you see it?", "what should we do?". Even if you are the one who suggested the idea earlier, do not take credit for it. You can say, "as we mentioned earlier", or to connect your comments with theirs, as Ury states, you can say something like, "building on what you said earlier...".

2) Look beyond the obvious interests (i.e. money) to include other, not-so-obvious interests
Yes, your mediation/negotiation might be about money but many times there is more to it. Satisfying the amount of money to be paid still will not get the agreement completed if other interests are not met. Remember, everyone is different and unique and thus not everyone has the same values as you. Money might be your bottom line, but they might be equally interested in saving face (the next one I discuss), the importance of the relationship and/or keeping the name of the company/business, etc.

Ury adds to make sure the basic human needs are not overlooked as well: security, recognition, and control over their own fate.

3) Saving face. Just recently I mediated a case involving thousands of dollars, and through various offers and counter offers, we were able to whittle it down to a difference of only $500. Yes, that's all it was but both sides dug their heals. Why, both wanted to save face and 'beat' the other. They had made it so far, but still needed to save face with themselves, in the eyes of the other party, and with their peers.

So how do you get beyond that? Remind yourself, and them, the only way for an agreement to be achieved is if both side's interests are being met. Also, put yourself in the other party's shoes and help them. Yes, help them!

This is a collaborative effort, so if they need to save face, give them help on how the potential agreement can do that.

Ury adds other valuable options such as seeking the advice of a neutral third party and finding a standard fairness.

Also, don't be afraid to let them take credit. On page 124, Ury mentions a great quote attributed to a Washington, D.C. politician,

"There is no limit to how much you can accomplish in this town if you are willing to allow someone else to take the credit."

4) Keep it simple. Yes, keep it simple means try not to lump everything together but rather take it step by step. At times, taking care of each issue alone will help things move faster by actually going slower. Yes, I am saying go slow to go fast (I am actually repeating it, Ury said it first).

People might like to slow things down too, because getting to an agreement too fast, on what is something very important to them might make them hesitate in making that final agreement just on the fact it's happened too fast.

Finally, if issues are related, it might be better waiting to try and get commitments on each until the end.

I hope this Golden Bridge list of tips helps you in your future mediations and negotiations, I can tell you it has for me. If you do find them interesting, I highly suggest you get the book.
read more "Building a Golden Bridge"

Cross-border Internet Dispute Book Review

Cross-border Internet Dispute Book Review

Publisher's summary [here]

Interested in Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)? A new book is out on such a topic.

"The internet has the potential to increase the number of cross-border disputes between a wide range of different users. For many internet disputes, the use of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) becomes critical. ODR uses information technology (such as expert systems) and internet communication applications (such as webforms or web filing platforms) to resolve disputes outside the courts. Although ODR is a progeny of ADR, using some of the same processes such as mediation and arbitration, ODR is also different in that it adds new and transformative technology and processes. This book sets out the process standards with which ODR, and in particular online arbitration, should comply and shows how these standards can be implemented in the real world. It considers applicable law and enforcement, thus providing a blueprint of how online arbitration processes should be devised.
• Synthesises recent thinking on due process in arbitration, taking into consideration the problem of dispute resolution on the internet and internet regulation to produce ideas of how traditional arbitration needs to be adapted • Tables and diagrams explain procedural fairness and make clear the book’s philosophical underpinnings • Includes recommendations for operators of websites, internet platforms, payment providers, online service providers, dispute resolution institutions and governments"

Back in January 2007, the European Parliament held a conference and published a briefing on "Redress & Alternative Dispute Resolution in Cross-border E-Commerce Transactions", read it [here]
read more "Cross-border Internet Dispute Book Review"

Today's News

M.I.A.'s Dad Wants to Mediate
Firstly, are you ready to show your age by saying who or what is M.I.A.?
She is the very famous musician who made it onto millions of TV's via the grammys performing on her due date (see the picture). That said, he father is offering his services to to the Sri Lankan Government as a mediator in regards to their current conflict.
"Hip hop sensation and British songster M.I.A’s father, Arular Arudpragasam, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Mirror expressed his interest to offer his services as an independent mediator of the ethnic conflict to the government. Speaking, while in Sri Lanka on a visit, Arudpragasam, said that his 30 years’ experience in Sri Lanka’s conflict, would be the primary reason for his inclination. “Even though, right now, the government through its military strength, is thinking we are going to finish this war and attain peace, I feel that peace may be even further away with the current approach,” said the one-time military mentor of the LTTE, referring to the present arena in the North-East.
A question I have is how is he necessarily independent if he served as a military mentor to the LTTE?
Sounds like he knows what he is educated in the concept of ADR, "Arudpragasam noted that Sri Lanka is not living in an era where a solution can be imposed against the will of a people. He observed that the present solution attempted in the island, which is via military combat, is about imposing a unitary state and for the Tamil people, this means the Sinhalese rule over them, which is what brought them to the current state in the first place.
“It is necessary that we work out a solution that is going to be acceptable to the Tamil people.” With the question of acceptability arising, it was queried as to what exactly he proposes as acceptable to the Tamil people, to which he responded that although there are many other communities as well, the conflict is between the Tamil people in the North-East and the Sinhalese of the South - “The solution lies in bringing a new Sri Lanka into existence where people will feel their rights have been met and they don’t feel threatened.”
Full article [here]
Mediation for Man Killed in Oakland Transit Case?
Mediation has been mentioned as a possiblity by the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) attorney in regards to the case of a man being shot and killed by a BART police officer a few months back. The family of the deceased has filed a $50 million dollar wrongful death suit against BART.
Full article [here]
Kiwi Mediator Appointed
Silver Fern Farms and PGG Wrightson have agreed to appoint a retired High Court judge to mediate an agreement following Wrightson's failed attempt at a merger with Silver Fern last year.
Wrightson defaulted last year on an offer to buy a 50 per cent shareholding in Silver Fern for $NZ220 million ($A172.22 million), when it could not come up with the $NZ145 million ($A113.51 million) first instalment earlier in the global financial crisis.
Full article [here] To Improve Dispute Resolution Process
To bad the article is an announcement about a future announcement. That said, the U.S. version of ebay uses the dispute resolution company to handle mediation and disputes between buyers and sellers so I'll make an outlandish guess that the UK version might do something similar.
Read the not-very-informative article [here]
read more "Today's News"

Mediation & ADR News 03.02.2009

Commercial Mediation to Double This Year in Ireland
...The respondents said the key advantages of mediation were cost (saving up to 70 per cent on litigation), speed, control of the process and the preservation of business relationships. The survey found that mediation was most widely used in family businesses and construction disputes, followed by partnership conflicts, property issues and business terminations.
Full article [here]

Political tensions start to subside as mediators step in
is that not a great title to an article? i mean, as a ADR practitioner, don't you feel required to read such a wonderful statement? The article refers to the political going-ons in the Pakistani Parliament.
"Lahore: Despite tall claims from both sides regarding the election of a new Punjab chief minister, the simmering tension between the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) has started to subside as political mediators and foreign diplomats stepped in."
Full article [here]

Interested In Construction Mediation?
If yes, this might interest you or scare you away:
"The 441-page document is the result of more than three months of mediation between the town and TLT Construction Corp. It was agreed to by all parties, including selectmen and TLT's bonding firm, last Friday but was released only yesterday after the Times filed a public records request. Although the document is a public record, it contains a clause that does not allow town officials to release it without notifying TLT."
Full article [here]

Broker Wronged You? You Have Options
Your money is gone. You're ticked off. You want to sue.Even if your adviser wasn't Bernard Madoff, you might be wondering what action you can take after watching your savings take a clobbering this past year. You aren't alone.
Last year, the number of cases filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority bolted 54 percent, to 4,982. The non-governmental agency regulates U.S. securities firms, including online brokerages, and handles arbitration with clients.
...Before proceeding to arbitration, you and the other party can seek a settlement through a FINRA-appointed mediator. You and your broker would work out how to split the fees, which can range from $50 to $300 for clients and $150 to $500 for brokers.
Full article [here]
For those interested, FINRA is seeking mediators in various locations throughout the U.S.
Their site is [here]
read more "Mediation & ADR News 03.02.2009"

African President Assassinated

African President Assassinated

In a set back to peace and stability not only in the tiny West African nation of Guinea-Bissau but to the continent as a whole, President Joao Bernardo Vieira was assassinated in his palace hours after a bomb blast killed his rival.

Currently it is unknown who is in charge of the nation. The United Nations and the African Union have yet to make a comment or response.

Note this is breaking news, so the links and stories provided below might not be as accurate when reading (updated 0800, New York City, USA time).

AP BISSAU, Guinea-Bissau – Renegade soldiers assassinated the president of Guinea-Bissau in his palace Monday, hours after a bomb blast killed his rival, but the military said that no coup was in progress in the fragile West African nation.
The military statement broadcast on state radio attributed President Joao Bernardo Vieira's death to an "isolated" group of unidentified soldiers whom the military said it was now hunting down.

Full Story [here]

A brief history of the problems in Guinea-Bissau [here]

The International Herald Tribune's article is [here]

"Guinea-Bissau is a former Portuguese colony in West Africa that is known as a transit point for South American cocaine shipments bound for Europe."

Background information on Guinea-Bissau from the Guardian [here]

The tiny west African state of Guinea-Bissau won its independence from Portugal in 1974 after a guerrilla liberation campaign that was led by the charismatic Amilcar Cabral and supported by Cuba.
With a population of 1.6 million, it has had a post-colonial history of coups and military unrest, and now has a reputation as a staging post for Latin American cocaine shipments to Europe.

read more "African President Assassinated"

Is Civil War Better than Negotiation?

Is Civil War Better Than Negotiating?
Read the article [here]

"For history demonstrates that civil wars, particularly ethnic civil wars, end more durably when there is a decisive military victory."

A nice sensational style way to start today's blog, eh? Well, this quote is from the International Herald Tribune's Bennett Ramberg. His piece is titled "Fight to the End" and it refers to how over history, in civil wars, actual fighting which results in one side clearly defeating the other is more sustaining that negotiating a truce.

Mr. Ramberg adds that the alternative to actual violence and fighting- "negotiated power sharing, ethnic autonomy or federalism - generally offer more hope than stability, as former combatants eventually become disenchanted with the new order and return to the gun."

That is an interesting statement that grabbed my interest, but unfortunately the example then given I feel falls a bit flat since he then refers to a civil war from almost 200 years ago- our own American Civil War! Other examples are added, including Tibet and Chechnya. By the way, not to create an entirely seperate discussion but what happend in Tibet over 50 years ago I would not call a Civil War but more of an invasion.

For those of you who are statistical junkies, this one's for you, "Statistical analysis of the dozens of civil wars between 1945 and 2004 shows that 77 percent ended in a decisive victory by one side, while 23 percent ended in negotiated accords. Four fifths of the decisive victories held; two-thirds of the negotiated agreements failed."

Finally, the article concludes with a message to President Obama (doesn't it seem like each day more and more people are offering their advice to the President in articles?), "The Obama administration should heed the lessons of history. In civil war, as in all war, events on the ground dictate outcomes - including opportunities for effective international mediation. Wishing that it were otherwise will not make it happen."

I am a bit confused in the statement "events on the ground dictate outcomes". Yes, events on the ground can dictate outcomes however the street does not flow only one way here, but rather in both directions. Negotiation/mediation can also determine the events on the ground in that a successful mediation could stop any ground events.

Additionally, allowing negotiation to take place many times in fact stops any ground events as a condition for the mediation to even begin. Admittedly many times it is agreed to be done on temporarily basis, but that in itself can be viewed as a success as that agreement, albeit done on a temporary basis, is a start to the foundation of accumulating yes's.

What I mean by yes's is that as the mediator, you want to get people to say yes more than no. It helps break down barriers and adds to an environment of collaboration- not confrontation (that's what war is for, right?). Collaboration promotes the idea and vision of working together, not the "us" versus "them" mentality that can lead the parties back to the battle fields.

A core point I offer to the writer and readers of the article is that the whole idea of negotiation is to get away from the very idea of what the title says, "Fight to the End". A mediator wants to remove the very idea that the mediation is an extension of the battlefield.

Negotiation might take longer, but is well worth the effort when looking for a 'everyone lives and wins' result in mediation compared to 'we win, you die and lose' in war, right?
read more "Is Civil War Better than Negotiation?"

Consumers In Debt: Know Your Rights!

The Chicago Tribune has an article on debt collect tips that consumers should know.

They are:

  1. Answer the phone

  2. Be brief

  3. Know the times they are allowed to call

  4. Ask for verification of the debt in writing

  5. Give them a time frame

  6. Make a deal (added by me: use a mediator if needed)

  7. Keep good records

For a Full description of the tips, read the article [here]
I came across this site, Credit Mediation Services, an Australian company of "professional negotiators" that helps you "typically lower your debt by over 50%". They specialize in Credit Cards, Store Cards, Personal loans, Trade debts, Old secured debts, and School debts.

To no surprise, there is no mention anywhere of what the fees are or how they go about charging the clients.
In many situations, the people being taken to court by debt collection agencies are not represented by an attorney. Getting tips like simply asking for proof of ownership of the debt is paramount to the direction of the case. The problem is many people do not know this and only come across this information after hiring a debt assistance company to help.

In response to that, if any people out there reading this is in that situation, I might have saved you some money :)
There are also many other free resources out there that can provide assistance. Many court systems give out free booklets when choosing to represent yourself. Mediators, new and old, might want to track it down in your local jurisdiction to further educate yourself if you mediate debt related cases.
read more "Consumers In Debt: Know Your Rights!"

Mobile Mediation and Negotiation Tips 2.26.09

Here is today's mobile mediation and negotiation tips. What do I mean by 'mobile'? I am thinking of this and typing it while on the train so enjoy!

5 Tips For Using Silence As A Tool

1- It puts the pressure on the other party (meaning it's not on you). By feeling the need to say something in order to break the silence will possibly get them to move away from their position, and give you insight on their interests.

newbies: remember, it is usually better to mediate/negotiate on interests compared to positions; it helps with expanding the pie and all that good stuff.

2- it let's the other party continue speaking, which allows them the feeling of being heard (note, for this, silence should be combined with other tools like nodding, open-ended questions, etc.)

3- Silence tests how firm they are in the comment they just made. If they feel strong about it, they will repeat it.

4- it gives you time to think.

5- it helps you remain cool (heck, combine it with three breathes!) so you will respond, NOT react.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

(edited later to add color and change the font to 'arial' because everyone knows arial is much better than times new roman, right?)
read more "Mobile Mediation and Negotiation Tips 2.26.09"

Mediation & ADR News

New Foreclosure Mediation Costlier and Longer
Several bankers said the mandatory mediation program for home mortgage foreclosure lawsuits ordered Friday by the chief judge of the Treasure Coast court system could increase the cost and length of the cases.

...“I have mixed feelings about it. I understand what the reason is, but any time the judicial system or the government gets involved, I think it could be troublesome,” said Bill Pittenger, senior vice president at Seacoast National Bank in Stuart. “I hate to see anything interfere with the free market and we’ve seen a lot of that lately.”

Full article [here]

Activists Seek to End Street Violence

Ministers and community activists gathered Sunday at a spot a few steps away from where three teenagers were gunned down Friday afternoon in the South Chicago neighborhood.

"Violence is definitely a sickness. It's a disease, and we need to start treating it like a disease," he said. "I want youth to know that they can call CeaseFire before someone gets shot."Hardiman said he can be reached at 773-391-9072 for mediation services. He hopes CeaseFire will be able to go into schools in the neighborhood to tell students they can call on CeaseFire to mediate conflicts.

Full article [here]

Swedish Diplomat Shares Insights on Conflict Resolution

BEIRUT: Swedish diplomat and long-time conflict negotiator Jan Eliasson shared his experiences and outlined a general plan for conflict resolution on his fourth trip to Lebanon during a lecture yesterday at the American University of Beirut dubbed, "Peace-Making Under the United Nations Flag: Reflection on a Quarter Century of Mediation."
Eliasson, who served as Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary General for Darfur from 2007-2008 and worked extensively to secure peace during the Iran/Iraq war in the 1980s, said that effective resolutions must involve the right actors, be well-timed and take into account cultural and communicative aspects.

Full article [here]

India-Pak Don't Need Chinese Mediation

I usually put just a tidbit of an article, then put a link to it, but the article is this short (really):

New Delhi: Union Minister of state for home Sri Prakash Jaiswal has assured that Pakistan will get the desired reply from India soon that will help the neighbouring country to successfully complete its probe in 26/11 terror attacks case.However, the minister refused any mediation from China. Talking to the reporters he said, 'No mediator is required for solving issues between India and Pakistan and any kind of arbitration will not be tolerated.''India is capable of handing attacks,' he further added.

Don't believe me, see how short it is [here]

Sync Your Blackberry Contacts with Google
Not really mediation related or maybe? For those out there like me who constantly has their Blackberry at their side and use Gmail, this is a great new feature. You can now sync your contacts together, which for your Blackberry, it also serves as a way to back up your information on Gmail too.

Read it [here]
read more "Mediation & ADR News"

Owners no Jackasses, Keep Jackass Website!

Owners No Jackasses, Keeps Jackass Website
For those who remember, I posted about dispute resolution and the internet a few weeks back. I found this charm of a story and had to post it here:
The World Intellectual Property Organization has the thankless job of overseeing Internet domain name disputes, but few can have been as surreal as the just-concluded case brought by US media giant Viacom. The company sought control of from a "serial cyber-squatter" based in the Virgin Islands who was (and is) using the domain to show pay-per-click ads. When hauled before WIPO to explain himself, the owner insisted that it had taken six years in order to ready the "website about donkeys" that was actually planned for the domain.
WIPO panelist John Swinson, not being a jackass himself, recognized a load of donkey manure when he saw it, but he still
refused to hand the domain over to Viacom, which will have to settle for instead.
Full story [here]
In domain disputes, three key criteria must be proven by the contesting party:
1) Is the name identical or confusinlgy similar to a trademark of the contesting party?
2) Did the purchaser have any legitimate claim/interests to the title or subject of the domain name?3) Was the domain bought in bad faith?

God, Australia, Mediation"Social justice" and "solidarity" - those were two themes touched on with frequency and passion at the 9:00am mass at Saint Mary's Church in South Brisbane on Sunday.
A colourful crowd of over 1,000 turned out for the morning mass to support Father Peter Kennedy, who was sacked by the Catholic Church for allegedly flouting church rules but defied the order by participating in mass.
...Archbishop Bathersby has called for mediation between Fr Kennedy and the Archdiocese, and says he is looking for a peaceful and dignified resolution of the current impasse.
Full Story [here]

Mediation For Internet Kiwi Pirates?
Are there even Pirates in New Zealand?
Movie and music industry bosses have pulled back from a hardline approach and are belatedly considering a plan for an independent mediator to oversee protracted complaints between them and telcos.
The idea is that a mediator will be a go-between in protracted internet piracy complaints where copyright holders claim an illegal download, but it is denied by ISP customers.
The mediator plan might ease the tense relationship between the hard-nosed Hollywood-led approach and telcos disgruntled about policing copyright holders' property rights.

Full Story [here]
read more "Owners no Jackasses, Keep Jackass Website!"

Unrest in Caribbean Has Roots in Slavery Past

Unrest in Caribbean Has Roots in Slavery Past

I read about this about a week ago and it stuck in my mind. So, when I saw it again on the homepage of Yahoo! News, I decided to write about it. An additional factor driving me to write about this is that as mediators and negotiators, we are always promoting 'expanding the pie'. there are plenty of times I blog on 'typical' ADR and mediation news stories so why not expand the realm and mention this? Reading this story, there is a heap of built up anger, frustration, resentment and other emotions dating back over a century- yes a century, not years!

From the article:
POINTE-A-PITRE, Guadeloupe – Protests that have nearly shut down the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique are not just about demands for lower prices and higher wages: For demonstrators they are no less than a battle against the vestiges of slavery.
Afro-Caribbean islanders — most of whose forbears toiled in the sugarcane fields under the yoke of slavery more than 160 years ago — not only resent France's handling of the global economic crisis, they have long resented that slaveholders' descendants control the economy on both islands.
They also suspect that businesses earn too high a profit on goods, most of which are imported.

...The protests are "not a call for war, but for dignity..."

...Several islanders blame the arrival of 450 French riot police for the violence that has erupted during protests — and say it shows how France treats the islands like colonies.
Full article [here]
Where can mediation or negotiation fit in? Have there been any type of talks between the haves and have-nots? Is the arrival of the riot police seen as instigating an already powder-keg in the making?

Admittedly, my knowledge of the situation is limited but one route towards a possible peaceful solution is using The Third Side Model and exploring options that promote cooperative negotiation.

The Third Side is a book and concept created by William Ury (for sale [here] and many other places) which says in conflicts, there are roles for everyone. They are broken down to ten:
Bridge Builder
read more on them [here]

The good sign already coming out is the protest leaders and the French Government are already negotiating.

"Protest leaders and government officials are still negotiating to lower the costs of housing, gasoline, water and electricity."

Hopefully dialogue will continue towards a peaceful resolution.
read more "Unrest in Caribbean Has Roots in Slavery Past"

Blogging on the Go!

Yes, technology has made another advancement here at the Enjoy Mediation Blog. I am now able to post updates from my mobile phone.
If you are asking why, and who cares, so am I!
Now that we have that out of the way, think about all the great news that I can now post I can't think of anything at the moment either.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend and sleep easier tonight knowing my blogging has gone mobile.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

(note: the photo was added later)
read more "Blogging on the Go!"

Hillary Clinton: Currency Before Compassion?

Human Rights Second, Money First?
Is this the same direction that we thought the Obama Administration was going to head in? What happened to Conflict Resolution, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation as well as Negotiation? For those who thought the USA planned on pressing China on human rights issues, newly appointed Secretary of State and former First Lady, Hillary Clinton, said the following on her first to to Asia including China:

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Amnesty International and a pro-Tibet group voiced shock Friday after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed not to let human rights concerns hinder cooperation with China.
Paying her first visit to Asia as the top US diplomat, Clinton said the United States would continue to press China on long-standing US concerns over human rights such as its rule over Tibet.
"But our pressing on those issues can't interfere on the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis," Clinton told reporters in Seoul just before leaving for Beijing. [full AP story here]

I did not expect humans rights to necessarily be the only factor and topic of discussion when she arrives on her first visit but to start things off with this comment?

Very surprising and confusing. Add to that the latest reports [here] of the Chinese military cracking down on Tibetans protesting and it is easy to get the impression that China will not have to worry about any substantial concerns from America.

Is negotiation as well as conflict resolution only good for getting deals done on the world economy? I hope somehow there is more to this story then what has been reported so far.
Edit: I did some research of her past comments in regards to China, and more specifically the unrest in Lhasa, Tibet and other areas of Spring 2008.
From Students for a Free Tibet: (March 2008)
I am deeply concerned about the violent clashes that have erupted in Lhasa, Tibet. Based on the limited information available, there is an urgent need for all parties, and in particular the Chinese security forces, to exercise restraint, to demonstrate respect for human rights and to protect civilians from danger. I call on the Chinese government to prevent further escalation of this conflict and to urgently pursue resolution through peaceful means.
On April 7th, CNN reported this:
Sen. Hillary Clinton called on President Bush Monday to boycott the opening of this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
In a statement released by her campaign Monday, the New York senator pointed to recent protests in Tibet; and to the Chinese government's failure to pressure the government of Sudan to end the violence in Darfur.
"These events underscore why I believe the Bush administration has been wrong to downplay human rights in its policy towards China," said Clinton.
President Obama had this to say on April 8th, 2008 (from ESPN)
"The Chinese government must take immediate steps to respect the dignity, security, human rights and religious freedom of the Tibetan people," Obama said. "If they do not, there should be consequences."
read more "Hillary Clinton: Currency Before Compassion?"

No Mediator... No Peace

The NYU 'Siege" is Now Over

The student takeover of the Kimmel Student Center Cafeteria has ended with:

1) no demands met
2) no negotiations
3) an injured security guard
4) 1 arrest for disorderly conduct
5) multiple suspensions of NYU students involved

The overall media coverage and editorials have really sided against the protesters. An example is the NY Post [here]

"With the kids' human rights indulged, they unfurled a dizzying list of 13 demands, which ran the gamut from lower tuition, to NYU pulling out investments in Israel, to giving freebies to Palestinian students. But their No. 1 demand was this: "Full legal and disciplinary amnesty for all parties involved in the occupation."

A recap of the event is [here] and local channel WCBS has a heap of videos (right side of the page) is [here].
No mediation or outside negotiators were brought in. The way the communication was handled (it seems) was the protesters submitted their demands via paper and through lower level school staff; The higher-level administration then met and discussed the situation and ultimately the only real offer from the school was for the 'siege' to end immediately and then the leaders could meet with school officials. That was quickly turned down.

From some reports, it all ended when the school asked to speak with the leaders of the group outside of the occupied area. Once out, they were then told there was going to be no negotiating but rather they were told they were now suspended. Security, whom I believe have peace officer status, then removed the remaining protesters.

Local school web-paper NYU Local cover the event (very nicely too) [here]

Finally, and oddly enough, it seems they passed time by dancing the night away. This picture seems to prove it [here]

Finally, [here] were the demands of the occupiers.
read more "No Mediator... No Peace"

New York University Under Siege

NYU Under Siege!

Well, the Kimmel Cafeteria is at least. This is still a developing story, so I will post more on it tomorrow. If you are interested, there is a blog posting updates every few minutes [here]

NY Times first broke the story [here]

From CBS:
AP) Dozens of students have barricaded themselves inside of New York University's student union cafeteria to demand increased transparency of the school's finances. The protest began about 10 p.m. Wednesday when students from various city universities gathered inside the cafeteria of the Helen & Martin Kimmel Center for University Life. Members of the coalition called Take Back NYU! pushed tables and chairs against the doors. A supporter said about 60 students were involved.
An open letter by a fellow student criticizing the 'takeover' [here]
"It is peculiarly ironic that a group of students who (presumably) oppose the Israeli occupation of Palestine choose occupation as their method of communication and conflict-resolution last night.
It is even more confusing to me that my peers, so dedicated to their activist lifestyles, did not enlist the most necessary tactics of activism in their demonstration yesterday evening. Take Back NYU – I am asking you for self-reflection. Do you think occupation is effective? Or have you merely hosted a publicity stunt void of accomplishment? As a fellow student activist who believes in your ability to make a difference, I write to you asking for clarification, transparency, solidarity, and sincerity."

Russia, Mediators, Georgia, Smiles All Around
Russia and Georgia have agreed on a mechanism to try to prevent any flareups around the breakaway South Ossetia region from turning into full-scale clashes, international mediators said on Wednesday.
The mediators hailed the accord as an important step forward in efforts to reduce tensions in the area, which sparked a brief but devastating war between the two last August, but diplomats warned that it needed to be tested on the ground.

International Herald Trbune article [here]

New Mediation Program Started In Kansas
In order to increase efficiency and resolve conflicts between consumers and businesses, Attorney General Steve Six today unveiled his new Consumer Mediation Program. It was developed to work though common consumer problems and obtain refunds and restitution without the need for legal action.
"Through my new Mediation Program, we can return money to consumers without stepping foot in a courtroom," Six said. "This program will help us efficiently assist Kansas consumers while saving on the cost of expensive litigation."

Full story [here]

Mediator Credited With Settling Fire Department Contract Dispute
OLEAN - The city of Olean and its 36 firefighters have a tentative agreement on a new contract after about two years of negotiations.Mayor David Carucci and Capt. James Bennett, president of the Olean Professional Firefighters Association, announced Tuesday afternoon that the two sides have reached a deal, but neither would comment on the specifics until the new contract is ratified by the association and Common Council.
The two sides met with a mediator from the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) Tuesday for the second time and reached an agreement, avoiding arbitration.

Full story [here]

read more "New York University Under Siege"

Popular Posts