#71 Taking More Responsibility for Conflict Leads to Greater Empowerment

Greater empowerment. Photo of man on sailboat

The road to greater empowerment in conflict resolution is different from what you might imagine. We are all familiar with the feeling of power that accompanies anger or being righteously offended. But, swellings of aggravation are delusional and a false sense of power. Through blame, these emotions assign responsibility to … Continue reading

#70 Apparent Sympathy

Apparent Sympathy

When listening to people in conflict you will sometimes hear them sound sympathetic to the other party. Someone who has been speaking negatively about the other party may, at times, ‘switch gears’ and sound like they are feeling considerate towards the other party. What is this apparent sympathy about? First, … Continue reading

#69 A Dialogue: Overcoming Mediation Resistance

The dialogue below is fictitious, but it is based on an experience I had as a mediator. It illustrates how mediation resistance can manifest, for example over encountering the other party The context is a court mediation program in which the mediator does not have the opportunity to conduct pre-mediation … Continue reading

#68 How to Respond to an Underlying Message

underlying message

A simple statement may carry with it a larger underlying message. If you take all simple statements literally, you will miss important elements of what the other person is communicating.     Trying to correctly infer the meaning of the underlying message is less important than noticing that there probably … Continue reading

#67 Creating Value in Negotiation

creating value: image of a phoenix

We negotiate because we want certain tangible interests satisfied. We may also need to talk through past events, or build a stronger working relationship. Additionally, there is another type of benefit to negotiation that can be a potential goldmine. It is the possibility of creating value that is not evident … Continue reading

#66 The Negotiator’s Dilemma

Negotiator's dilemma

In the previous two blogs I presented some of the ways that one could be taken advantage of in negotiation and how to respond to them. So far I have covered tricks, power grabs, exaggeration, and possible reneging on agreements. But there is another deeper and more profound problem that … Continue reading

#65 Lack Of Trust: A Threat To Collaborative Negotiation And How To Get Past It

This is the second in a series of blogs exploring factors that can threaten collaborative negotiation. The previous blog examined tricks and power grabs; this one looks at lack of trust. In Getting to Yes, Fisher and Ury suggest that one can proceed in negotiation independent of trust. Counter-intuitively, they … Continue reading

#64 Reciprocity: Use It As A Guide In Responding To Manipulation

Reciprocity: Us It As A Guide In Responding To Manipulation

This blog owes its central theme of using reciprocity in negotiation to Gordon Sloan’s take on a passage in Fisher and Ury’s Getting to Yes. Negotiation should be reciprocal communication, that is, each party should be able to participate in negotiation in an equivalent manner. Therefore, if only one party … Continue reading

#63 Use A Tripwire If You Feel Vulnerable In Negotiation

The notion of a ‘tripwire’ is a highly practical concept supplemental to the BATNA that Fisher and Ury wrote about in Getting to Yes. If you are concerned about being influenced to accept – in the heat of the moment – an agreement you will later regret, use a ‘tripwire.’ … Continue reading

#62 Quantifying Intangible Interests In Negotiation

Intangible Interests: image of a fairy

Intangible interests are subjective interests that are difficult to quantify, for example privacy, reputation, and honour. It is difficult to weigh one option against another when you know they are relevant but have trouble determining the extent of their value. Below are three examples. In every case, one can estimate … Continue reading