|Describe what each person
Define your goals and your opponent's goals.
- Feedback: Listen carefully to the other person.
Don't interrupt or make assumptions. Then use your own words to state what
the other person says.
- Common Ground: Use words that help to define the
conflict as a mutual problem.
- "I" Statements": State your needs and goals
using I, me, my or mine (I want... I need...). Avoid always and never.
Stick to the situation.
- Neutral: Avoid judgmental statements to explain
how and why the other person's goals and behaviors interfere in your
- Long-Term Focus: Focus on the importance of the
long-term relationship in order to preserve and improve it.
|The mediator helps
disputants describe needs and feelings.
- In order to help disputants communicate clearly
he or she must:
- ask each disputant to put in writing his/her
request for mediation and the details of the conflict from their point of
- determine who will talk first and insure
everyone listens without interrupting.
- help disputants commit to reaching a solution
- encourage disputants to identify common ground
in each other's goals.
- ask open-ended questions and give feedback that
rephrases answers to be sure that all disputants clearly understand each
other's goals and feelings.
Do's & Don'ts
- Don't take sides.
- Don't give advice or suggestions.
- Do leave your own experience out of the
- Do organize issues on a large chart or
chalkboard to help disputants focus on the conflict and on a solution.
|Exchange reasons for
- Win-Win: First, express cooperative intentions.
Emphasize commitment to a mutually desired solution.
- State and clarify your reasons for your actions
and your goals. Be sure disputants understand clearly the other's reasons.
Clarify using open-ended questions and feedback: May I ask why? or Can you
be more specific?
- Continued negotiation is based on two important
- How important is your goal?
- How important is the other person's goal to
him or her?
- Focus on meeting everyone's goals. Use common
ground to think "outside the box." Both disputants must be creative and
- accept several possible solutions from which
- remain flexible about the option(s) you like
- keep open to the possibility that a better
option may be available.
|The mediator helps
disputants share reasons for their positions.
Help disputants clearly state and explain their
positions without loading their statements with emotional and judgmental
wording. Help disputants:
- present their reasons;
- separate interests from positions; and,
- re-frame issues. To do this, mediators focus the
- the conflict as a mutual problem with a
possible win/win solution, rather than a win/lose proposition.
- both perspectives.
- the intent rather than the actual result of
- a clear differentiation between disputants'
interests and reasoning.
- the multiple meanings of any one behavior.
- keeping power between disputants equal.
- constructive statements and behaviors.
|Understand each other's
Each disputant must be able to:
- take the other's perspective;
- understand how the conflict appears to him/her;
- empathize with that person's feelings and
Disputants should use feedback to check and recheck
their perceptions by:
- describing the other person's feelings;
- asking each other to verify perspectives; and,
- avoiding judgmental expressions.
|The mediator helps
disputants understand each other's perspective.
Mediators request that disputants "put themselves in
the other's shoes."
Role Reversal Technique:
- Ask Disputant A to portray Disputant B's desires
- Ask Disputant B whether Disputant A was
- Ask Disputant B to portray Disputant A's desires
- Ask Disputant A whether Disputant B was
|Invent options for a
Propose more than one
good alternative solution. Avoid these pitfalls:
- Jumping to conclusions;
- Searching for a single answer;
- Assuming fixed possibilities; instead you should
expand the view of circumstances surrounding the conflict.
- Focusing only on personal needs and wants; and,
- Thinking "inside the box"; sticking with the
status quo or a narrow view of solution possibilities.
Different types of agreements can help maximize a
- Expanding the Pie - Increase the available
resources; what may be seen as shortages are not necessarily permanent.
- Package Deals - Incorporate several related
issues into one agreement.
- Trade-Offs - Exchange two different objects or
goals of comparable value.
- Tie-Ins - One opponent accepts another's offer
if other goals are added to "sweeten the deal."
- Carve-Outs - Carve an issue out of a larger
situation, leaving the related issues unsettled.
- Logrolling - Both parties give up their
low-priority issues that are high priority to the other person.
- Cost Cutting - One person attains his/her aim
while keeping the cost to the other at a bare minimum.
- Bridging the Gap - Create a new option that
satisfies both parties' interests but that is different from each one's
original goal, i.e. "thinking outside the box."
|The mediator helps
disputants invent options for a win-win resolution.
When each disputant has described 3-4 acceptable,
alternative solutions, ask both to consider each alternative:
- Is this option acceptable to you?
- Is the option specific enough? Does it tell
when, where, who, how?
- Is the option realistic? Can you do what you say
- Does the option address your important
- Are responsibilities shared? Are you both
agreeing to do something?
Thinking Outside the Box: help disputants think
creatively to find solutions.
Use rephrasing, your organization chart and
descriptions of different kinds of agreements.
Highlight the Pros: Mediators can increase
disputants' motivation to resolve the conflict by highlighting the gains for
resolution and the costs for no resolution.
Balance Sheet: As the negotiation progresses, help
disputants complete a "balance sheet" on each of the alternative options
that shows the gains and losses for each disputant for each option.
In the Future I Will...: When a solution is finally
accepted by both disputants, ask each one to state his/her intentions for
the future. How will they act differently per the agreement, in order to
avoid future problems?
|Reach a wise agreement.
A wise agreement must:
- meet everyone's legitimate needs and must be
viewed as fair by everyone. It must include:
- clear descriptions of how all parties will act
in the future; and,
- a simple, agreed-upon method of review and
renegotiation if the agreement turns out to be unworkable.
- It must be based on objective criteria and offer
- an equal chance of benefiting;
- fairness, i.e., taking turns or sharing;
- scientific merit, i.e., past history indicates
it will work; and,
- tie-ins with community values.
- The process of reaching the agreement, and the
agreement itself, must strengthen participants' ability to work together
cooperatively and to resolve future conflicts constructively.
|Mediators help disputants
reach a wise agreement.
Mediators must help
disputants think realistically about possible solutions.
- Will they be able to live up to their promises?
- Does the agreement truly satisfy them and clear
away any resentments that could fester and erupt later?
- Is the means to review and re-negotiate the
agreement, if necessary, easy to implement and follow?
Once agreement is reached, mediators must help t
formalize the agreement. The contract must at least include:\
- Names of disputants;
- Dates of conflict incidents and mediation
- Brief descriptions of what disputants have
agreed to do to resolve the conflict;
- Means of reviewing and renegotiating, if needed;
- Any role the mediator may have in the future;
- Signatures of all parties, including the