Was A Terror Suspect, Now a Mediator [plus more news]

Was a Terror Suspect, Now A Mediator

Pakistan is using ex-terror suspect Hyarbyar Marri as a mediator between the terror outfit which kidnapped UN official John Solecki and the government to get the American citizen released.
Marri, recently acquitted of terrorism charges in the UK, was approached by Pakistan’s Interior Ministry to use his influence with the kidnappers, Dawn reports. Full story [
here]


Mediation and Arbitration Helps in Construction Disputes
When it comes to profitability, a lot can be said for the way a company manages information. That's been the overall theme of the Construction Specification Institute's three-part webinar series, "Maintaining Profitability in Your Construction Business," which concluded this afternoon. Bill Dexter, a risk-management consultant and trainer, Mary Jones, a California attorney specializing in alternate dispute resolution and Marge Mellody, a mediator specializing in real estate-related disputes, continued that focus when they discussed dispute resolutions during today's session.


Full story [here]


Mediation Fails

For those that think mediations are always resolved successfully:

NEWARK -- Mediation has failed in a civil suit between a local contractor, the Board of Education for the Licking County Joint Vocational School District and others, but another avenue to avoid a lengthy trial still might be available.

Attorneys for all sides met with a mediator Friday, but because no settlement was reached, the prospect of a month-long jury trial beginning April 28 looks increasingly likely.
The case will have spent three years on Common Pleas Judge Thomas Marcelain's docket by then.


Full story [here]

Internet Mediation- Cybersquatting Hits Record

The number of cybersquatting complaints reached a record in 2008, the World Intellectual Property Association reported Monday.
Geneva-based WIPO, which is charged with resolving such disputes, said there were
2,329 complaints filed with the WIPO Administration and Mediation Center last year. That's an 8 percent increase from the year prior.

And the numbers are likely to skyrocket as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is expected to launch new top-domain spaces by year's end.

Full article [here]


SafeKiwi- Promoting Mediation in New Zealand

"LEADR NZ is pleased to be involved in the new SafeKiwi™ internet-based ‘escrow’ financial service, launched yesterday by Christchurch businessman Mike Pero. An escrow account, like SafeKiwi™, is a legal arrangement in which one party deposits funds under the supervision of a neutral third party, until the terms of an agreement have been met and the funds can be released. SafeKiwi™ (www.safekiwi.co.nz) is marketing the service to companies, corporates, individuals and government departments and, in particular, expects the service to be popular with small businesses and sub-contractors.

SafeKiwi™ will use the Public Trust as its custodian. Carol Powell, chair of LEADR NZ, says she is delighted that SafeKiwi™ is promoting mediation as the first option for resolving disputes that may arise between parties to the service.

Full article [here]
read more "Was A Terror Suspect, Now a Mediator [plus more news]"

Mediation Program So Successful, It'd Going Be Canceled!


Mediation Program on the Chopping Block


That's right, despite the fact that the mediation program between Police and civilians in San Fransisco is doing so good, it is still on the chopping block because of the budget woes.


How successful is the program? participants in the program have given it a whopping 96% satisfaction rating in 2008.

From the article, "The program is a bright spot for an office rebounding from a withering 2007 city controller's audit that found "officers who arguably should have been disciplined, counseled, or retrained were not" because 53 percent of the time the office failed to complete investigations by the nine-month deadline."

Read the article [here].

Btw, on the topic of budget cuts, I found this picture on the web and had to post it as my
"Pic of the Day".

read more "Mediation Program So Successful, It'd Going Be Canceled!"

7 Elements of Negotiation



7 Elements of Negotiation


7 Elements of Negotiation


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 game plan.
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 outweigh the future relationship you will have with the other party
I am going to breakdown the 7 elements into separate 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.

INTERESTS
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 positions. 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 position and attacking the others.
Interest based negotiating on the other hand 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 represent 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.
Part Two: Alternatives
Figuring out your interests allows you to figure out your BATNA and WATNA.
It's ok if you are saying, "huh???"
BATNA and WATNA are acronyms for Best-Alternative-To-A-Negotiated-Agreement and Worst-Alternative-To-A-Negotiated-Agreement. You compare your alternative to the possible agreement that is on the table. You weigh your best alternative and worst alternative with the possible agreement and find out what is best for you. Actually, and this is very important, you need to find out what is best for you given the circumstances.
What do I mean? The agreement on the table might be better than your alternative, however in a perfect world, your alternative might be better. Confused? Read Part 4 and I promise that Options will explain it further.
You need to figure out what is best for you in the current situation by weighing it against your alternatives to getting an agreement. Figuring out your alternatives is key to your preparations for the negotiation.
Generally, you do not want to accept an agreement that is worse than your BATNA.
As is the case with finding interests, you also need to know your other party's alternatives. Just like you will weigh your potential agreement against your alternative, they should do the same. If you are the mediator, this actually goes for the negotiator too, and a party to the negotiation does not know their alternative- help them! Yes, help them. As the mediator, you want to make sure your parties are informed.
There is a big a difference between giving advice and making sure they are aware of what will or will not happen if there is an agreement or lack of one. Raising awareness of the party's alternatives, especially in stalemates can help generate movement.
As the other party/negotiator, a great way to get the other party/negotiator to move towards a possible agreement is to get them to see that their alternative to an agreement will leave them worse off than the offer on the table.
Part 3: Relationship
You have your interests figured out as well as your alternative. Both are two very important tasks to take care of during your preparations, as well as to remember during the negotiation. An important question to ask yourself before you begin your negotiation is, "How important is the relationship I have with the other party/negotiator/group they are representing?"
The value, or lack, of the relationship should determine such things like how hard will you press certain issues, how tough of a stand will you take, will you be more attacking or submissive, etc?
If the relationship will not exist after the negotiation concludes, you might not care how they feel or really be all to concerned with their emotions, right? Well, not really. Although you might not care as much compared to wanting to keep a relationship ongoing, I would still advise someone not to go into the negotiation 'guns blazing'.
The first reason is personal. Maybe I might not care all to much what the other party thinks of me, but I do care what I think of me.
Huh?
What I mean is I have control over me and only me in the negotiation. I do not want to resort to name calling or an all-out offensive attack because that is not how I negotiate.
Additionally, consider your reputation. You might never interact with this person or group again, but keep in mind they might talk to other people in your field or market. When someone says, "your reputation precedes you," you don't want it to be for being a hothead, do you?
Losing the battle might help you win the war. Ok, first I really dislike referring to any mediation or negotiation to war, so this is a rarity but it fits. If maintaining the relationship is more important than this particular issue/conflict you are having, is it really worth damaging, possibly beyond the point of fixing? This is a very important question to ask yourself.
As a mediator, it is important to ask the parties how important the relationship is. By doing so you are playing the crucial role of reality testing to get them to consider the choices they might make and the future implications it will have.
Part 4: Options
You are now past the early stages of the negotiation/mediation. It is now time to generate some movement. When each side has expressed their interests, next you look at options. Options are the full spectrum of possible agreements. When brainstorming options, keep in mind that each option should meet the needs of both parties- not just you! Let me mention a couple of key points to generating options:
·         Create first, evaluate second. List all options first, not leaving anything out. After all possible options have been listed, then go over each and determine if they meet each party’s needs.
·         Write them down on paper or a board without giving credit to who said what. This helps move in the collaborative direction instead of confrontation. I find it useful to use the 'mind map' method to listing options. It is simple- you put the issue in the middle of the paper, and then draw out branches for each possible option. Some study somewhere says this helps the mind be creative... who knows, but it works for me.
·         Looking at options helps move away from the idea that there are only two options- i win or he/she wins. You are expanding the pie (of options) here.
Exploring options is key to mediation and negotiation. The simple reason is the parties get the satisfaction that they are taking ownership of the issue(s) and have a direct say in how it can possibly be resolved. It has been said many times the process and method of handling the dispute is equally important to the participants as the issue itself.
Part 5: Legitimacy
How do you prove your offer or options are fair? How do you prove the other side's offer is not fair? finding a neutral, external standard defines the legitimacy of the offers being made.
Ask yourself, how would such a deal be viewed by a third party?
If it is a money situation, is charging 9% the usual accepted rate? If it is a contract dispute, is it a commonly accepted practice to expect a deposit back? In the community mediation setting, do you expect the 3 year old child upstairs to stop moving, let alone running?
As a mediator, it helps at times being experienced, perhaps even a expert in the field you are mediating in. Although you are not determining the outcome, it could provide you insight into what open ended type questions to ask.
As the negotiator, knowing accepted standards will help solidify your offers, possibly lessen theirs, and even create a new option(s).
Part 6: Communication
I if had a personal mantra, it would be Communication, Understanding, Peace. For people to understand each other (no, i do not necessarily mean agree), there has to be a clear line of communication, that goes in each direction equally.
If you want more misunderstandings in life, don't communicate... with anyone.
How else are we to understand each other, with all our beautiful differences, ranging from language to size to skin color, without communicating? It is impossible. Without communication and understanding, it is not possible to get peace. What I mean by peace is not the absence of violence or negative conflict but rather genuine peace- the kind that is built on the very first two words of the mantra- communication and understanding.
Communication in negotiation/mediation is one of your greatest tools. Depending on how you use it, it could be your best or worst tool. Communication ranges from what you say, how you say it, body movements, positioning, what you do not say, when and how you do not move and gestures.
The type of communication style you use greatly determines your negotiation style. Some quick tips for communicating effectively are:
·         Speak on your on behalf, not for others and assume what they feel/think.
·         Use "I" statements, "I feel frustrated when you missed the deadline because I then have to slow production down and stay later." Call me crazy, but I think it will much work better compared to saying something like, "You are lazy and never meet deadlines."
·         Listen actively. Don't just wait for them to finish to get your counter-point in, but rather use empathy while the other is talking to try and fully understand their point of view.
·         Show you are listening. simple nodding might work.
·         Be relaxed. being stiff and rigid in posture can send the wrong message to the other party that you are not being open minded and not really giving them your attention.
·         it is fine to take notes, but do not scribble and write while looking down the entire time the other person is speaking.
·         Summarize and reflect. Remember, being a part of the process most times is equally important as the issues. Everyone wants to be able to speak and know that they are being heard. You can accomplish this by using such phrases as, "what it sounds like you are saying is..." and, "you seem angry because..."
·         Open ended questions. Using them is the best way to get more information, make sure you understand them, clarify the issues, and also as a way to deflect attacks.
Many books have been written on communication techniques and tips in negotiation and mediation. I highly suggest if you want to improve you communication style, you engage in further reading on this important topic.
Part 7: Commitment
Mission accomplished. As a negotiator, you closed a deal and you are better off. As the mediator, you helped both sides explore the issues and then find a suitable, acceptable option.
The last part of the of the seven elements should not be passed over or forgotten just because you are at the finish line or even feel you have already crossed it. Making sure the agreement reached is realistic and that both sides can keep their end of it is crucial to the process. If there is not a legitimate chance of either of the parties being able to be committed, they will just end up back at the mediation table or even in court.
The best example I can give is a mediation between a debt collection agency and the person who owes the debt. If the person owing the debt agrees to pay $1,000 a month to the agency, but also has to pay $800 in rent and takes in $1,800 a month in salary that would mean the person has no money left to eat... or do anything else for that matter!
What do you do as the mediator? A good tool out of the 'mediator's toolbox' to use can be reality testing. Ask questions such as:
·         "Is this something you think you can stick with?"
·         "Given the situation, do you think that can be done?"
·         "Can you afford this on your salary?"
·         "Only you know if you can stick with this plan, what do you think?"
·         "Do you want to take a little time to think about it?"
The questions can also be asked to the other party as well:
·         "Is this something you think he/she can commit to?"
·         "What will happen if they do not hold up their end of the deal?"
These questions can help slow down or pause the negotiation to help everyone take a breath to see if the terms are something that each can stick with.
Remember, commitments are not only what people will do, but it can also state what they won't do. Making sure both sides can commit to the agreement ensures that the time and effort everyone has dedicated to the mediation is not wasted by agreeing to something that is not realistic.
read more "7 Elements of Negotiation"

*Update: Mediation & Arbitration are the same thing

Note: Today's earlier post [here] has an update. Looks like there was an oversight and this is what I recieved a little bit earlier via email from Carol Kinsley, an assistant to the article's author, E. Ralph Hostetter:
----
There should have been another sentence (colored orange below), based on Mendelsohn's article.
Mr. Hostetter's column should read:Under the new legislation if the two parties cannot reach agreement, either may request mediation from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. If mediation fails, binding interest arbitration is mandated. The decision of the arbitration panel is binding for two years.

-----
read more "*Update: Mediation & Arbitration are the same thing"

Mediation and Arbitration are the Same Thing

Mediation and Arbitration are the Same Thing

At least this is how I read this paragraph:

Under the new legislation, if the two parties cannot reach an agreement, either may request mediation from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. [the following has been edited in as per this post] If mediation fails, binding interest arbitration is mandated. The decision of the arbitration panel is binding for two years. This is the provision of the Employee Free Choice Act that the business community is determined to defeat. It will provide labor with a powerful tool for collective bargaining which has been absent for generations.

Note the italicized section. It is not very clear that from a request for mediation, somehow, somewhere the issue is also decided by arbitration. Very odd.

Correct me if I am wrong, but a massive difference between mediation and arbitration is the issue of the third party being neutral (mediation) while in the other (arbitration), the third party makes a decision.

The article is referring to a bill in the Senate regarding the "50+1 Rule" being proposed to for groups wanting to unionize.

I sent an email to the writer of the article asking for clarification, if he replies, I will let everyone know.

Read the article [here]
read more "Mediation and Arbitration are the Same Thing"

7 Elements of Negotiation, Part 7: Commitment

7 Elements of Negotiation

Part 7: Commitment

Mission accomplished. As a negotiator, you closed a deal and you are better off. As the mediator, you helped both sides explore the issues and then find a suitable, acceptable option.

The last part of the of the seven elements should not be passed over or forgotten just because you are at the finish line or even feel you have already crossed it. Making sure the agreement reached is realistic and that both sides can keep their end of it is crucial to the process. If there is not a legitimate chance of either of the parties being able to be committed, they will just end up back at the mediation table or even in court.

The best example I can give is a mediation between a debt collection agency and the person who owes the debt. If the person owing the debt agrees to pay $1,000 a month to the agency, but also has to pay $800 in rent and takes in $1,800 a month in salary that would mean the person has no money left to eat... or do anything else for that matter!

What do you do as the mediator? A good tool out of the 'mediator's toolbox' to use can be reality testing. Ask questions such as:
"Is this something you think you can stick with?"
"Given the situation, do you think that can be done?"
"Can you afford this on your salary?"
"Only you know if you can stick with this plan, what do you think?"
"Do you want to take a little time to think about it?"

The questions can also be asked to the other party as well:
"Is this something you think he/she can commit to?"
'What will happen if they do not hold up their end of the deal?"

These questions can help slow down or pause the negotiation to help everyone take a breath to see if the terms are something that each can stick with.

Remember, commitments are not only what people will do, but it can also state what they won't do. Making sure both sides can commit to the agreement ensures that the time and effort everyone has dedicated to the mediation is not wasted by agreeing to something that is not realistic.
read more "7 Elements of Negotiation, Part 7: Commitment"

7 Elements of Negotiation, Part 6: Communication

7 Elements of Negotiation

Part 6: Communication

I if had a personal mantra, it would be Communication, Understanding, Peace. For people to understand each other (no, i do not necessarily mean agree), there has to be a clear line of communication, that goes in each direction equally.

If you want more misunderstandings in life, don't communicate... with anyone.

How else are we to understand each other, with all our beautiful differences, ranging from language to size to skin color, without communicating? It is impossible. Without communication and understanding, it is not possible to get peace. What I mean by peace is not the absence of violence or negative conflict but rather genuine peace- the kind that is built on the very first two words of the mantra- communication and understanding.

Communication in negotiation/mediation is one of your greatest tools. Depending on how you use it, it could be your best or worst tool. Communication ranges from what you say, how you say it, body movements, positioning, what you do not say, when and how you do not move and gestures.

The type of communication style you use greatly determines your negotiation style. Some quick tips for communicating effectively are:

  • Speak on your on behalf, not for others and assume what they feel/think.

  • Use "I" statements, "I feel frustrated when you missed the deadline because I then have to slow production down and stay later." Call me crazy, but I think it will much work better compared to saying something like, "You are lazy and never meet deadlines."

  • Listen actively. Don't just wait for them to finish to get your counter-point in, but rather use empathy while the other is talking to try and fully understand their point of view.

  • Show you are listening. simple nodding might work.

  • Be relaxed. being stiff and rigid in posture can send the wrong message to the other party that you are not being open minded and not really giving them your attention.

  • it is fine to take notes, but do not scribble and write while looking down the entire time the other person is speaking.

  • Summarize and reflect. Remember, being a part of the process most times is equally important as the issues. Everyone wants to be able to speak and know that they are being heard. You can accomplish this by using such phrases as, "what it sounds like you are saying is..." and, "you seem angry because..."

  • Open ended questions. Using them is the best way to get more information, make sure you understand them, clarify the issues, and also as a way to deflect attacks.

Many books have been written on communication techniques and tips in negotiation and mediation. I highly suggest if you want to improve you communication style, you engage in further reading on this important topic.

read more "7 Elements of Negotiation, Part 6: Communication"

Negotiation as a Poker Game

Hold'em & Negotiation

Victoria Pynchon has put together a wonderful presentation showing you how to win millions in Texas Hold'em.

Not really, but almost just as good, she shows how similar strategies can be used in both.

Well worth a look (btw, I love the Colin Powell quote!).



Visit her blog [here] and the posting of the slideshow is [here]
read more "Negotiation as a Poker Game"

U.S. Dept of Peace???... & more ADR News

(note: parts 6 & 7 of the 7 Elements of Negotiation will appear Monday and Tuesday)

No More Police Raids: China and Europe Agree to Talk
There was no dawn raid by police to seize patent-infringing MP3 players at this year's Cebit trade show -- but behind the scenes, haggling over technology licensing continued.
Raids by German police or customs officers had become a regular feature of shows such as Cebit, in Hanover, and IFA, in Berlin, in recent years, often at the instigation of an Italian company, Sisvel, which licenses patented technology essential to the manufacture of MP3 players.
At this year's Cebit, though, things were a little quieter, thanks in part to the intervention of a team of mediators from a new organization, the China IPR Desk, supported by China's Ministry of Commerce and the European Commission.

read more [here]

Moscow Moves To Draw Moldova, Transdniester Leaders Back Into Fold
The leaders of Moldova and its separatist Transdniester region have agreed to jump-start efforts to resolve their decades-long dispute through a combination of bilateral contacts and international mediation. A Kremlin-brokered meeting in Moscow on March 18 was only the second direct contact between Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin and Transdniestrian leader Igor Smirnov in almost eight years.
Read more [here]

Californian Bill Would Help Teachers Master Conflict Resolution
SACRAMENTO - Teachers could get some recognized training to deal with classroom conflicts under the terms of a bill by a Salinas-area lawmaker that passed its first legislative review Wednesday.
Assembly Bill 1 by Assemblyman Bill Monning, D-Monterey, would authorize coursework in negotiation, mediation, arbitration and other techniques as part of teachers' professional development.
Read more [here] (Note: have a look at the first comment posted by a reader)

Department of Peace?
Has anyone heard of a Bill in Congress proposing the creation of the Department of Peace?

"On Monday, March 23, hundreds of citizen activists from around the country will swarm over Capital Hill, meeting with your Representatives and Senators about legislation to create a U.S. Department of Peace - House Resolution 808. Please support this Band of Brothers and Sisters by adding your voice to the lobbying effort. Using this petition will send a letter to your Representative letting him or her know that you also believe this legislation is deserving of their co-sponsorship."
From [here]

More:
"If you're not familiar with this movement, it intends to create a Cabinet-level secretary and department in Washington, whose mission statement would be to advocate for peaceful conflict-resolution at all levels from domestic violence to international conflict and war. It is proposed in the House of Representatives as HR 808, and has 66 co-sponsors..."
Read the article [here]
read more "U.S. Dept of Peace???... & more ADR News"

7 Elements of Negotiation, Part 5: Legitimacy

7 Elements of Negotiation

Part 5: Legitimacy

How do you prove your offer or options are fair? How do you prove the other side's offer is not fair? finding a neutral, external standard defines the legitimacy of the offers being made.

Ask yourself, how would such a deal be viewed by a third party?

If it is a money situation, is charging 9% the usual accepted rate? If it is a contract dispute, is it a commonly accepted practice to expect a deposit back? In the community mediation setting, do you expect the 3 year old child upstairs to stop stop moving, let alone running?

As a mediator, it helps at times being experienced, perhaps even a expert in the field you are mediating in. Although you are not determining the outcome, it could provide you insight into what open ended type questions to ask.

As the negotiator, knowing accepted standards will help solidify your offers, possibly lessen theirs, and even create a new option(s).
read more "7 Elements of Negotiation, Part 5: Legitimacy"

7 Elements of Negotiation: Part 4, Options

7 Elements of Negotiation

Part 4: Options

You are now past the early stages of the negotiation/mediation. It is now time to generate some movement. When each side has expressed their interests, next you look at options.

Options are the full spectrum of possible agreements. When brainstorming options, keep in mind that each option should meet the needs of both parties- not just you!

let me mention a couple of key points to generating options:

  • Create first, evaluate second. List all options first, not leaving anything out. After all possible options have been listed, then go over each and determine if they meet each parties needs.

  • Write them down on paper or a board without giving credit to who said what. This helps move in the collaborative direction instead of confrontation. I find it useful to use the 'mind map' method to listing options. It is simple- you put the issue in the middle of the paper, and then draw out branches for each possible option. Some study somewhere says this helps the mind be creative... who knows, but it works for me.

  • Looking at options helps move away from the idea that there are only two options- i win or he/she wins. You are expanding the pie (of options) here.

Exploring options is key to mediation and negotiation. The simple reason is the parties get the satisfaction that they are taking ownership of the issue(s) and have a direct say in how it can possibly be resolved. It has been said many times times the process and method of handling the dispute is equally important to the participants as the issue itself.

read more "7 Elements of Negotiation: Part 4, Options"

7 Elements of Negotiation, Part 3: Relationship

7 Elements of Negotiation

Part 3: Relationship

You have your interests figured out as well as your alternative. Both are two very important tasks to take care of during your preparations, as well as to remember during the negotiation. An important question to ask yourself before you begin your negotiation is, "How important is the relationship I have with the other party/negotiator/group they are representing?"

The value, or lack, of the relationship should determine such things like how hard will you press certain issues, how tough of a stand will you take, will you be more attacking or submissive, etc?

If the relationship will not exist after the negotiation concludes, you might not care how they feel or really be all to concerned with their emotions, right? Well, not really. Although you might not care as much compared to wanting to keep a relationship ongoing, I would still advise someone not to go into the negotiation 'guns blazing'.

The first reason is personal. Maybe I might not care all to much what the other party thinks of me, but I do care what I think of me.

Huh?

What I mean is I have control over me and only me in the negotiation. I do not want to resort to name calling or an all out offensive attack because that is not how I negotiate.

Additionally, consider your reputation. You might never interact with this person or group again, but keep in mind they might talk to other people in your field or market. When someone says, "your reputation precedes you," you don't want it to be for being a hothead, do you?

Losing the battle might help you win the war. Ok, first I really dislike referring to any mediation or negotiation to war, so this is a rarity but it fits. If maintaining the relationship is more important than this particular issue/conflict you are having, is it really worth damaging, possibly beyond the point of fixing? This is a very important question to ask yourself.

As a mediator, it is important to ask the parties how important the relationship is. By doing so you are playing the crucial role of reality testing to get them to consider the choices they might make and the future implications it will have.
read more "7 Elements of Negotiation, Part 3: Relationship"

7 Elements to Negotiation: Part 2, Alternatives



Part Two: Alternatives

Figuring out your interests allows you to figure out your BATNA and WATNA.

It's ok if you are saying, "huh???"

BATNA and WATNA are acronyms for Best-Alternative-To-A-Negotiated-Agreement and Worst-Alternative-To-A-Negotiated-Agreement. You compare your alternative to the possible agreement that is on the table. You weigh your best alternative and worst alternative with the possible agreement and find out what is best for you. Actually, and this is very important, you need to find out what is best for you given the circumstances.

What do I mean? The agreement on the table might be better than your alternative, however in a perfect world, your alternative might be better. Confused? Read Part 3 and I promise that Options will explain it further.

You need to figure out what is best for you in the current situation by weighing it against your alternatives to getting an agreement. Figuring out your alternatives is key to your preparations for the negotiation.

Generally, you do not want to accept an agreement that is worse than your BATNA.

As is the case with finding interests, you also need to know your other party's alternatives. Just like you will weigh your potential agreement against your alternative, they should do the same.

If you are the mediator, this actually goes for the negotiator too, and a party to the negotiation does not know their alternative- help them! Yes, help them. As the mediator, you want to make sure your parties are informed.

There is a big a difference between giving advice and making sure they are aware of what will or will not happen if there is an agreement or lack of one. Raising awareness of the party's alternatives, especially in stalemates can help generate movement.

As the other party/negotiator, a great way to get the other party/negotiator to move towards a possible agreement is to get them to see that their alternative to an agreement will leave them worse off than the offer on the table.
read more "7 Elements to Negotiation: Part 2, Alternatives"

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.

INTERESTS

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.

Empathy
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"

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