Mediation and negotiation require similar skills and approaches:– a win-win outcome and removal of psychological blocks.
Mediation involves two parties who jointly invite a third party to facilitate reaching an agreement. In some cases the mediator might need to understand contract law or to have access to comparative data. However, the principles of mediation require only that the facilitator is able to understand the objectives, beliefs and perceptions of the parties – and then facilitate mutual changes of position until the two parties can agree.
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In negotiation the facilitator normally works for one side, training the team or individual in negotiation skills, preparing them for a particular negotiation and coaching them during the negotation. Many of the processes are the same, though, because the object is to understand the other party and to create an outcome that will fulfil their aspirations as well as one's own.
A first stage is likely to be to enable each party to "hear and understand" the other. Very often the problem is only real in terms of what the other party is assumed to think. So, listening skills are crucial.
When the parties understand each other's position, the next stage is to understand each other's objectives. In particular, what is important to them about those objectives. How could the "real" objectives be achieved in a manner acceptable to the other party.
There is a story about two sisters arguing about an orange that they each needed for their cookery. However, one needed the juice and the other needed the peel.
What is the meaning of the objective? Particularly, where saving face and maintaining respect are concerned.
The process involves a lot of chunking of information – seeing it from different perspectives, looking in more, or less, detail, and examining it from a higher point of view until there is a position on which all can agree. For example, we normally agree that we would like the world to continue! Then getting more detailed until differences appear and can be addressed. Maybe, then going off in a new direction to confront and resolve a new blockage.
Help with mediation and negotiation can save a great deal in legal bills or penalty payments as well as achieving a better all-round outcome.
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Brefi Group helps clients bring structure and clarity to their thinking. We help identify core issues and make the complex simple, holding the space for you to create your own solutions.
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