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Casual Attire Closer Cognative Dissonance/a> Comfort Collateral Damage/a> Collective Dream Communication Effective Communications One-Way Communications Two-Way Communications Strategic Communications 21st Century Communications Barriers to Communications Compassion Computers Concessions Confrontation Consideration Contacts Contemporaneous Continuing Conracts Conviction / Zest Credit Checks Crisis Management Currency

CASUAL ATTIRE


Air tank, regulator, fins, mask, harpoon, suit, buddy. These are all essentials when diving with sharks.

Don't be under-dressed for the occasion! In today's work environment, dress is much more a challenge then it was in the fifties or sixties. Casual dress days or environments are fine for companies and their staff. It is fine for days when there are no important meeting where you expect to pitch a product, service, raise for yourself, or mediate a divorce settlement.

When you are seeking to take control and forge an alliance or settlement, dress the part of a leader.

Dress with a mind to the impression you want to make. Casual attire connotes, subliminally, a casual attitude. Good leadership attire, casual or dressy, always is crisp, clean and commanding. First impression, even with old acquaintances, is critical. The tone is set when people gather and appraise each other.

When in doubt, wear a suit. This attire typically inspires attention and respect. You can always loosen your tie or take the jacket off to make others comfortable. But it hard to dress up jeans and a tank top.

Everything about you, your office, your dress, and your manner of speaking sends non-verbal signals to others. If you are in power in a situation, you can dress as casually as you want. But never forget that you are setting expectations by your attire. Casual dress need not be sloppy. Understand the difference between casual and sloppy and use clothing to support your goals.

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CLOSER


There is no doubt of the ability of a great white to prevail in the water against most prey. His reputation preceeds him causing a ripple through the water of well deserved fear.


Being a closer is being a negotiator who can actually bring discussions to a head and walk away with a signed agreement. Mediators are expert at closing. That is what they do. They manage the process in a fashion that the parties ultimately come to an accord. Anything short of this is typically viewed as a failure. Their sole goal is to have the parties reach agreement.

The best negotiating that does not result in an agreement is less than satisfying. Corporate managers are not likely to appreciate all your hard work if you don't win more often than not. No matter the fact that accepting a bad proposal would be bad for the company, most companies openly recognize and reward completion of negotiations more than the actual details of the transaction itself.

Closing a negotiation requires getting the other person to actually sign or agree. People naturally resist making final decisions. This is especially true when they feel they are being pressured. The climate of the discussions leading to this moment play a significant role in everyone being comfortable with signing the document or shaking hands to seal a deal. People need to feel in control to commit willingly.

Preparing for the Signing Moment:

-If tempers have flared during the discourse, seek ways to mend the personal fences before pressing for decisions. People need to feel in control to commit willingly.

-As you approach the time to sign it is helpful if you have laid the groundwork previously by sharing the document and making sure the other person is comfortable with the language and structure of the agreement. This gets everyone used to committing and following through on their word. More important, it saves you the loss of time when a redraft is suddenly required late on a Friday afternoon. Such a delay can also place the agreement in jeopardy

-Watch how others react to reading the document. If you see a cloud of doubt on someone's face, stop them and ask what is bothering them. This is your chance to clear up any concerns and reinforce the decisions have been good ones for everyone. You want everyone as comfortable as possible before placing pens in their hands.

-Review the reasons the others are agreeing to the terms and reinforce why their decision is a good one.

-The timing of asking for a signature or commitment is also important. If you sense the other person's unease, take a break and suggest a beverage or something to interject a chance to relax before actually sitting down to sign documents. Well timed breathers are a great way to diffuse mounting tension.

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COGNATIVE DISSONANCE (aka Buyer's Remorse)

When a panther pounces on its prey, it knows what it will do with it. When man decides to act, he may later regret his decision.

Given time to reflect on our acts, most of us would have done something slightly differently. in som ecases, substantially different. This is human nature. It i scalled cognative dissonance. It is also what undermines a lot of good agreements. Mediators and negotiators both learn to reinforce decisions and document impportant agreements to stave off this very human propensity to try to change the deal.


There are ways to avoid falling into this trip. The key is to know what your objective is, what it is worth to you, and what you are prepared to offer to achieve it. This disciplined approach to preparing for a negotiation should enable you to recognize the right settlement opportunity if and when it presents itself.
Be mindful that the other party is likely to get buyer's remorse as well. There are some things you can do to avoid it beocming an issue down the line:

- If you are tempted to accept an initial offer, slow down. If you do, the offering party may become dissatisfied sensing that they offered too much or asked too little. Even if the offer is acceptable, argue a bit to make sure the other person becomes committed to the transaction. Struggle befor eth efinal commitment for good measure.

-When you visibly show that you are struggling to accpet the other person's terms. it helps to cement the agreement by rewarding the other person withthe satisfaction that you have given more than you intended. Remember, for the most part, 21st Century negotiations are psychological battles rather than lethal encounters. You essentially need to win the minds of your opponent because you can't simply shoot them!

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COLLATERAL DAMAGE

A charging bull is not worried about collateral damage to those around you, he is intent on your demise.

Collateral damage is a seemingly unique human concern. It comes from living within social structure and being concerned about how one's actions might impact those around the targeted objective. In war, collateral damage pertains
to loss of civilian life when taking a military objective and the potential of losing support at home or from one's allies. In negotiations, collateral damage can mean damage to one's reputation or the company's reputation if unilateral actions are taken. In a family dispute, autocratic decisions, while sometimes available, can so damage a father-daughter relationship that the victories can lead to a far worse situation.

Often the easy victory is foregone in favor of the collective good of a grander plan. But if you lose enough skirmishes, the war might become hard to survive.

The best way to manage collateral damage is to maintain a proper perspective as to the important of the issues being discussed. If they are related to other issues, make sure you are addressing the important issues before you bring in the really big guns. Don't waste too much of your power base on minor issues. If you win the major battles, the small issues will likely fall into place in time.

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COLLECTIVE DREAM

A wolf pack works together, hunts togethe rand sleeps together. As a pack, unified in their goal, they are safer and more secure..

No one enters a negotiation with out an expectation of the outcome. That is their dream. To achieve your dream, you must find a way to make it the other person's dream as well.

Too many people focus on their needs and wants without caring about the other person. To excel at negotiating, the strategy of collective dreaming is required. Collective dreaming is the process of getting everyone involved in the discussion to envision the same objective, to want to achieve that objective, and to work together to make it happen. To do this a negotiator needs to look beyond his or her interests and conjure the ultimate outcome of the negotiation if successful for the group. Then he or she must present that dream to the entire group demonstrating how, if achieved, it benefits everyone.

Too often collective dreaming is not used to resolve confrontations because the parties are emotionally at odds with one another. Managers routinely use the approach to get through each day. Negotiators should expand their skill-set and include collective dreaming as a means to achieving their goal. It does not cost anything to consider another person's needs or perspective.

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COMFORT

Being alone in the water with a great white can be unnerving! It can also be fatal if you lose your cool. Stare the shark in the eyes and pull all your limbs into your body making your body image as large and solid as possible. Don't try to swim away until he veers away. While in this compressed position you can likely appreciate how comfortable the shark is in the water and how you are not.

Being comfortable is an essential ingredient to being effective as a negotiator or mediator. Comfort in a negotiation comes from knowing the subject matter, knowing what you want, knowing what you need, and knowing what the other person wants and needs. One must exude confidence that others can sense. Once you achieve the demeanor of an accomplished negotiator, others will be inclined to heed your counsel and consider your proposals. Such confidence comes from mastering the essentials of the subject of negotiation.

Gaining personal comfort also requires putting aside false assumptions. Never assume your opponent is as prepared as you are. He or she may well be ill-prepared and hoping to bluff their way through the meeting. If you are prepared, ask key questions to determine their level of preparedness. In doing so you will be able to uncover their weaknesses.

Don't answer your own questions. Let the silence build then ask another question. By controlling the discussion you will gain control of the process of the meeting and be better able to subtly guide it toward your objective.

Knowing where you need to go is far better than wondering where you will wind up. Sell your needs as realities and downplay those of the other as mere "wants". If you find the other person to be far better prepared than you and armed with damaging facts, get out of the meeting quickly. Feign a crisis. Get sick. Do something to get away before your cover is blown and you lose all your credibility.

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COMMUNICATIONS

Hearing the jungle drums is different then learning who is on the evening's menu and being able to decide you don't want to stay for dinner. Communications

Communicating is a constant in all negotiations. Understanding the dynamics of effective communications in conflict settings is essential to channel the outcome.

The challenge of conflict is that listening is typically impaired. People, when they do listen, all to frequently don't hear what is said. And raised voices replace logical and therapeutic discourse.

As important as accumulating knowledge of the subject under contention is the development of effective, interactive listening skills. When the other person is talking, you have the chance to learn something; if you are listening.

Communication concepts are important to understanding human interaction. The ability to effectively state your message is obviously important. But the ability to clearly hear the other person's message is equally important to reaching an accord.

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EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

The Indian tracker steadfastly looks for signs to unerringly direct his path toward the wolf.

A negotiator needs to be skilled at two things. Delivering and receiving messages. Unlike a postal carrier, he must make sure his message is heard and understood. Unlike a court recorder, he must understand as well as hear. Effective communicating is the process of proactive listening and speaking.

When speaking, you are responsible for making sure what you are saying is being understood. Verify this by:

  • Asking follow-up questions to make sure you were understood.
  • Repeating salient points two or three times.
  • Seeking input on your comments.
  • Repeating key points one more time for effect!
  • Observing the non-verbal reactions to what you say. *


* By observing you are trying to see if they are thinking of something else, if they are planning what next to say, or if they are just asleep!

When listening, you are responsible for making sure what you are undersanding what is being said. Verify this by:

  • Observing the non-verbal signals of the speaker.
  • Asking follow-up questions to makes sure you understood.
  • Repeating back the salient points for affirmation.
  • Seeking clarification.
  • Make sure you are not thinking about something else (that big date)!
  • Make doubly sure you are not thinking about what you are going to say next!


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ONE-WAY COMMUNICATIONS

It does no good to shout at a shark, the bubbles make you look like a school of appetizers.

Observing other people while talking enables you to make sure they are awake, alert and interested. If not, regroup and find a way to get them personally involved in the conversation.

When speaking, you are responsible to make sure the others are listening. Verify this by:

Observing the non-verbal reactions to what you say. You are looking to see if they are thinking of something else, if they are planning what next to say, or if they are just asleep!

  • Pepper your comments with questions designed to draw them into the discussion.
  • Pause and let the silence pique their interest.
  • Ask their opinion of a point you just made.


Taking responsibility for being heard and understood is part of being effective as a negotiator. We all know the game of telephone. Appreciate that the other person will likely have to review what was said today with others. It is your goal that he or she be able to clearly restate your case as you intend it to be heard. So proactive speaking is an essential tool when negotiating.

If you aren't clearly understood, what chance do you have?

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Two-WAY COMMUNICATIONS

Stepping on a sleeping lioness will get her attention. Now that she is aroused, she will be intensely interested. Plan your next move very carefully.

Once two people are focused on each other and listening raptly communications can be intense. A barroom conversation can quickly escalate into a brawl if the barkeep doesn't monitor the liquor consumed. Similarly, a mediator works to get the parties together to discuss their respective complaints but also interjects as required to keep the tempers under check. Using caucus sessions to separate the parties briefly diffuses the clear, poignant comments from becoming too inflamed. But the mediator also knows that he needs to provide the means of getting the comments out on the table to allow the healing process to begin.

In a negotiation you may need to serve as both a mediator and negotiator if the tenor of the discussion starts to get out of hand. Don't be hesitant to ask for a short break to let things cool or to simply get up and walk around the room. This will break the tension and allow everyone to take a breath. Watch for signs that you are pressing too hard.

Signs of discomfort at what you are saying:

  • A furrowing of the brow.
  • Tensing of the upper body.
  • Clenching of the hands.
  • A set jaw.
  • Leaning forward suddenly.
  • Looking away or closing a portfolio, folder or packing a briefcase.


Most important, watch the eyes. When you are pressing too close to home they will harden and become unfocused on you. What you are seeing is the other person's mind over powering what you are saying and blocking further listening. When a person gets mad, they stop listening and start reacting. Two-way communications stop at this point.

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STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS

Speaking to the chief, it is wise to use hand signs, speak slowly, and offer gifts while watching his eyes. Should they turn hostile, it is safe to assume you have chosen the wrong word or otherwise insulted him. Knowing this while there is still time to recover could save your scalp.

Learning to listen pro-actively and observing while you speak is just the beginning to becoming a great communicator. Negotiating is an art form. Communicating is nothing less. Mastering the ability to reinforce what you are saying with your actions and demeanor allows you to be more effective at both endeavors.

Actors practice or rehearse their lines in front of mirrors to get their entire persona to deliver the feeling as well as the line. Attorneys preparing opening and closing arguments do the same thing. Why, then, should not other professionals take the same care to make sure they are optimizing the impact of what they say. In fact, most mediation and negotiation professionals do go through various types of rehearsals and dry-runs before important sessions. Communications is the bread and butter of these professionals and everything from the setting of the negotiation place to their dress is thought through to create the environment within which they will best be able to accomplish their objective. Little should be left to chance when the stakes are high.

Prepare, prepare, and prepare yet again so that you have mastered the subject matter and know what your objectives are before you sit down. If you fail to do this, you may find that the discussion is being controlled by the other person and that it is being channeled where they want you to go rather than toward your goal.

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21st CENTURY COMMUNICATIONS

Jungle drums foretell an evening of dancing, pagan rights and special guests for dinner. Knowing how to intercept the message of the drums may save you from being the main course.

We live in the communication era. That means nano-second technology is available to speed negotiations forward at breakneck speed. This is very good when you are in a hurry to wrap things up. But it is very bad for negotiations. Compressed time takes the finesse out of the process. If you want to barter, succumb to nano-second technology. If you want to negotiate, step away and force face-to-face meetings and a snail-mail pace to responses.

Do I use e-mail? Absolutely! But only when I sense the time is right for a response. Frequently I will sit on an e-mail fully prepared for several days before hitting the send key. The timing of a response sends a distinct message. Use technology in the drafting of the response but use intuition, good sense, and experience in deciding just when to send the email. The art of negotiations can not be rushed. When it is, the art is sacrificed for mediocrity.

E-mail, faxes, mobile phones and word processors tend to press for an immediacy that may not be appropriate. Resist the temptation to respond and think strategically. What message is being sent with a prompt response, a delayed response, or no response at all? Make a strategic decision!

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BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATIONS

A deep, fast moving river between you and a hungry lion with cubs to feed is an effective barrier. A locked cage with strong bars would be even better.

Communications can be blocked by many things ranging from poor equipment to inept speakers. But the most effective barriers are the internalized psychological barriers that keep people from hearing what is being said.

People hear what they expect to hear. That is, they filter what they hear to meet their expectations. These filters are created by their past experiences, how they were raised, their education, and their needs. The filters are not fact based! They are based on personal perceptions.

When making a presentation to a group of people, you must realize each person is hearing something slightly different based on their internal filter of what you are saying. That is the basis for the game, 'telephone'. Unfortunately, the game is a reflection of the real world. People hear differently.

Internal filters are nearly impossible to change. So it becomes the responsibility of the speaker to overcome the filters by validating that what he has said has been heard with the same meaning by everyone. One can do this by:

Asking follow-up questions.

Observing reactions to what is being said.

Restating the salient part and asking for confirmation that it was understood.

Be aware that you also filter information as it is received. This is a subconscious processing aspect of listening. To improve your skills as a negotiator, work at discerning your filtered messages from what was really being said using the same techniques listed above, but in the reverse.

Asking follow-up questions.

Observing non-verbal actions when someone is speaking.

Restating the salient part and asking affirmation that it was understood.

Breaking down barriers to communication requires work, hard work. You are seeking to diffuse decades of learned behavior creating filters of which the listener is unaware.

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COMPASSION

It's one thing to be worried about the mother grizzly in labor, it is another to be within her reach to mop her brow. Grizzlies are not big on compassion.

Compassion or empathy does not connote weakness. In today's society many think that effective negotiators are brutal, winner-take-all combatants. This is accurate in some forums where the negotiations are solely power-based, but very few. Most disputes involve real people with real feelings, needs and expectations. Business or personal, we all have a need to be liked, appreciated, and respected.

Skilled mediators and negotiators know that non-monetary issues often are valued more than the dollars and cents of a dispute. The money represents the pain, suffering, anguish and, frequently, sense of being wronged. It is the only currency many understand and use to make their points. But money is typically the symptom rather than the disease.

Being compassionate allows the mediator to open doors into the real issues driving the dispute. This is investigative work and takes time, patience and an empathetic approach. But the reward is to gain insights into how a situation can be diffused.

Develop those interpersonal skills that make you a good listener:



Listen more than you talk.

Ask probative questions.

Practice and use non-confrontational language.

Practice and use non-confrontational body language.

Seek to expand the issues to uncover the primary obstacles to a solution.

Demonstrate a willingness to consider the other person's arguments.

In short, don't be afraid to be human, to be caring, to put the other person at ease. The objective is to forge a relationship built on trust and respect leading to a lasting accord. Parents too frequently assume the their relationship with a child will weather any storm without understanding that a little compassion will go a lot further in uncovering a latent problem than a dogmatic approach.

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COMPUTERS

If you want more than to make your point, do not send your wife an e-mail instead of roses. It might settle the argument but is lacks style, warmth and respect. Make it personal to make it meaningful.

The computer age has brought about speed, efficiency and a lack of personal interaction. The former is good, the latter can be devastating to settling a heated dispute. All the benefits of the electronic age, e-mail, faxes, word processors and spreadsheet programs, can be lost if one relies too heavily on these tools of the trade.

Word processing is useful in getting repetitive documents drafted quickly. But the pitfalls are errors in making changes to the content, headers, and footers that may prove to be an embarrassment, or worse yet, reveal privileged information. It is too easy to review documents on the screen and miss changes that were not caught when it was prepared. A prime example is using prior offers to submit a new offer. Revealing the name of the prior addressee in the header on page two can reveal that you are negotiating on several competitive parcels at the same time.

E-mail and faxes are great for fast responses. But sometimes you need to pace the response so that you have time to reflect on how to respond. The timing of a response signals your eagerness to the other party. Do not be forced into instantaneous negotiations.

A few good rules to remember:



Use computers to prepare documents. But make sure you create redlined versions to compare to your editing notes. Then review hard copy final drafts carefully for missed changes. Slow down, an extra hour of review and corrections could save you a lot of embarrassment.

Use computers to outline issues. They are great strategic planning tools. Then, when entering the foray, leave the computers behind. PowerPoint presentations are for sales pitches, not dispute resolution.

Use computers to speed delivery of administrative and financial materials. But remember that they are clerical tools prone to human errors. Check, check and recheck output.

Do not use computers to deliver arguments. E-mail at best is impersonal. The art of negotiating involves the interaction of the parties. This is not possible when negotiating through an e-mail, letter or fax.

Do not use computers to replace face-to-face meetings. Negotiating is an multi-dimensional, interpersonal art form. E-mail, letter or fax is at best one-dimensional and allows for no feedback, verbal or non-verbal, when delivered.

Do not feel the need to respond as quickly as an e-mail or fax would allow. Consider the input you have received, plan a response, and then schedule a face-to-face meeting to respond.

Knowing how to use computers in negotiations is fine. Especially if you use that knowledge to have the other person overuse their computers. If they do, you will be able to use their proclivity to rely on one-dimensional communications to prepare for your next face-to-face meeting. Forewarned is forearmed!

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CONCESSIONS

When surrounded by cannibals, offering your watch, camera and guide may buy you enough time to make different dinner plans.

Concessions are an important aspect of the art of dispute resolution. They can be used to remove roadblocks to the settlement process, to garner concessions from the other person, or to redirect discussions to protect an asset you don't want to use as a bartering chip. To manage the concession dance, you must first plan for concessions.

Planned concession granting is an effective strategy is dispute resolution. Mediators and negotiators use sequential concessions to establish a pattern of agreement and to garner more important concessions from others. Before entering a settlement conference, assess what the other side wants from you and what you have to offer.

Determine what the concession you have available to offer are "worth" to you and if you can afford to grant them. Match up what you are prepared to grant with what you would like to get in return. Concessions should be planned to escalate in value and importance.

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CONFRONTATION

When an enraged elephant corners you, it is not likely that you will be able to talk you way out of trouble. Elephants are not known to respond to "Nice elephant". But they do understand the report of a elephant gun!

When people refer to negotiations as an art, they are typically referring to timing of various tactics and strategies. Deciding when to confront another person is critical. One must gauge the strength of one's adversary before seeking to confront him or her.

The Samurai is an excellent role model when considering confrontation. To be ready to confront another, one must be prepared to fight to the death and be convinced one has the strength (AKA the information) with which to disable your opponent. Learn from the Samurai. Diligently train (prepare) until you can rely on intuition. Then discover all there is to know about your adversary. Now you are ready to embrace the logic of your cause and engage to win.

Confrontation in person or by telephone is often difficult to initiate. No one likes to walk into a high-stress situation. But when conflict arises, settlement discussions are necessary to resolve the matter. How you approach the situation will likely control the end result. Anger and antagonism is not likely to instill a desire on the part of the other person to collaborate with you.

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CONSIDERATION

To avoid become the evening's entree, make sure you pack along proper gifts and commodities to win favor with those you run into in the wild.

Negotiation is all about the currency of consideration. What, how and when you offer consideration is the art of the game.

Consideration in a negotiation may include anything of value to one of the parties. The most prevalent forms of consideration are:

  • Money or hard currency.
  • Property or other tangible asset with an intrinsic value.
  • Power, position or authority
  • Sex, entertainment or affection.
  • Allegiance or support.

  • How you maximize your "assets of consideration" determines the balance of value of the exchange. An available asset may have substantially more value to the other person. Leveraging your assets enables you to increase your value generated. Often a mediator will discover that a simple statement of apology by one party will enable the other person to agree to the financial terms. This exchange of unlike consideration is often the most effective way to reach a resolution.

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CONTACTS

Tagging wild animals allows you to monitor their movements and learn from their behavior. Trying to keep track of business associates is more challenging as many don't leave forwarding addresses and most don't want you to learn from their behavior.

Contact development and maintenance can provide the resources to the negotiator to expand the dispute to other people or issues. This is an effective negotiating tool to break an impasse.

Being able to take your argument to another, more senior or experienced party is often effective in the business setting. Develop and use your business contacts in situations that warrant it. It is usually preferable to deal with the person with the greatest authority in an organization. This allows you to press for a definitive decision and commitment rather than relying on the other person to "try to get it approved" after you leave.

Personal or family disputes can also benefit from expanding those involved. This allows different perspectives to be interjected, peer-pressure to be applied, and another approach to be used to try to get the situation resolved. A cautionary note, beware of appearing to gang up on your child if you go to your wife for support. Regardless of how logical, right, and appropriate your combined approach may seem, it will likely be perceived as mom and dad ganging up on the child. If available, a sibling to the child makes a better, less intimidating ally. Save the big guns for formal disciplining should that be required. It is appropriate for parents to openly support each other in such instances.

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CONTEMPORANEOUS

While locked in mortal combat with a Bengal tiger don't forget that her mate may be lurking somewhere about to lunge.

Even though you are making good progress on one front, know that there may be other situations that can undermine or further strengthen you cause. Contemporaneous issues often come up when you have the other person at a disadvantage. Desperate to regain a footing, these contemporaneous issues may be raised. You job is to quickly assess if they have any real bearing on the topic at hand, and, if not, dispose or disregard them. However, if they do have a material impact on what you are trying to achieve, you may need to regroup and cover your back.

The best defense to contemporaneous issues is to prepare fully. Knowing what issues are likely to be raised allows you to anticipate such collateral arguments.

By being fully prepared, one can draw upon his or her knowledge to deflect the attacks of others and draw blood in a negotiation. Be strong, be confident, and never draw back when you have the other at a disadvantage. Negotiating is not for the meek. It is for the strong. Strength comes from knowing yourself, your cause, and your opponent.

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CONTINUING NEGOTIATIONS

Getting tired fighting off the wolves? Light a fire, make it big, and settle in for some well-deserved rest knowing the flames will keep them at bay for a few hours.

When things are going badly and you are out-gunned, seeking to gain a continuance is often the best strategy to take. Any excuse will do, such as a forgotten meeting, a unexpected bidding form a boss or suddenly not feeling well enough to go on with the meeting (bad food for lunch?). The bottom line is to vacate the arena as quickly as possible to enable you to regroup and prepare for the next meeting.

If you have prepared properly, you will realize when you need more time. Deflect the attacks of others using this tactic of delay. Be strong, be confident, and state the need to break for a while. Negotiating is not for the meek. It is for the strong. Strength comes from knowing when you are getting in trouble.

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CONTRACTS

You can get a chimpanzee to sign almost anything. But will he perform when it comes time to honor the terms?

A contract is the final goal in a dispute resolution, negotiation, or mediation. It represents the agreements of those involved. It clarifies and quantifies the agreement and documents the terms. An agreement without a contract is like sex without love. It is lacking in dimension, satisfaction and commitment.

Contracts are easy to write but hard to get signed. Human nature is such that no one is eager to put their pen to paper unless they are the clear victor. Having everyone involved in the solution also take part in drafting the agreement makes it easier to sign when it is time to do so.

Whether the situation is a formal negotiation or informal family discussion, take the time to document an agreement and have everyone sign off on it. People often get cornered and then say anything to get out of that position. A signed document with the terms clearly outlined is harder to break than an oral agreement.

In the heat of an argument, precise recollection is not always one-hundred percent. Especially in family dispute resolution, a written settlement document is useful when memories falter or someone decides that that is not what they actually said. It helps the mediator focus on incremental issues, and not have to go over the same heated discussion repeatedly.

Family dispute resolution contracts are typically short and to the point. What you want to capture are the specific terms that each person has agreed to and what they said they will do. Business contracts are understandably laden with legalese to make sure the contract will stand up in court,. The purpose of both documents is the same. To record and attest to the agreement that was reached.

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CONVICTION / ZEST

A young elk buck challenges the herd leader with zest, conviction and passion. He knows that victory will mean many wives; failure is sure death as it is a traditional fight to the end.

No argument is properly delivered without conviction and passion. If you are not prepared or if you do not believe in what you are asking it will be evident unless you are very, very fortunate. Don't rely on luck to see you through.

Zest or zeal is the energy you bring into the room with you. It is contagious. It is a positive force. It shows that you are confident, focused, and passionate about what you are about to do; fight for your cause.

Develop ways to telegraph this personal attitude:

Check your tiredness or personal problems at the door. Actually take a personal moment before entering the room to consciously do this. If you are with a team, step aside to make sure you are mentally ready to enter. If you are leading the group, you should do this before even meeting up with your teammates.

Enter the room boldly. Make an entrance, don't just enter.

Make it a big deal to meet someone foe the first time. Recognize personally each of the people in the room. Pause when shaking hands and mentally register the person's name and facial features. Make good, firm, direct, in-control eye contact with each person observing how they react.

Make it a point to see if everyone has everything they need, even if it is not your office. Take control of the environment. Be assertive in seeing to the needs of others.

Start off with a positive statement. Something a simple as "I'm ready to do this!" sends a very clear message across the table.

Practice how you enter a room, greet others and start a session. Rome wasn't conquered in a day. By developing a natural manner to bring enthusiasm and passion into your persona will make you a more dynamic small group leader. It is the informal leadership role that may enable you to steer the discussion and formulate how the arguments will play out.

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CREDIT CHECKS

When bartering with headhunters, make sure you have enough trinkets to stay out of hot water.

Don't be afraid to ask hard questions. Before entering into an agreement, you will need to make sure the other side is able to make good on his or her promises. In every walk of life there are those who try to bluff their way to greatness. What they do not realize is when they fail to perform they are hurting someone else in addition to hurting themselves.

As a seller or landlord it is important to make sure a buyer or lessee has the financial capacity to complete the transaction. It is not an insult to question the other's financial capacity in detail. In fact, it is done daily. When we tender our credit cards or checks to a clerk in a store, they do not simply take our word that we can pay, they access a credit service and verify that we have the money to pay the bill. If someone is willing to be questioned by a total stranger over their ability to buy a steak dinner, surely they should not object to providing a financial statement when buying a million dollar parcel of land or home. If they are, caveat emptor or seller beware!

It is also important that you not over-promise for the same reasons. You do not want to have to come back and take back your promise. While the immediate impact may be tolerable, the long term damage to your credibility is where the real harm lies. Repeated failures to perform will damage your reputation and make future deals much more difficult to structure.

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CRISIS MANAGEMENT

When a covey of quail is startled, they take to the air; the worst crisis decision they can make!

Katrina has thrown America a major curve. After weathering the storm everyone exhaled. Then, the following day, the levies gave way and havoc erupted. The ensuing crisis has focused the attention of the world on America’s ability to handle the situation.

Having good crisis management skills is an essential characteristic of an effective negotiator. No matter how well-prepared, how you have planned, or how ready you are for a negotiation, the unknown can always through a curve into the process. How the unexpected is handled often determines the outcome of a negotiation.

Managing a crisis requires:
-Understanding your own strengths and capabilities.
-Knowing where the high ground is and how to get there.
-Being able to gain the confidence of others and lead them to safety.
-Having the strength to weather the store and make the trek.
-Caring enough to make the effort to prevail.
-Taking action and following through to complete the task.


In negotiations when your final overtures are thwarted or an agreement made is broken at the last minute presents a crisis situation. Times like these require regrouping, on-the-fly assessment of options, and concise decision-making. Only good preparation and a strong knowledge base will prepare you to step into the breach and save the day. Whether you do it is up to you. It takes confidence, conviction and a passion to prevail.

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CURRENCY / ZEST

Having a good supply of beads and mirrors is essential before venturing into the jungle. That is unless you don't mind staying to be dinner.

Negotiation is about currency. Understanding the currency of a negotiation is essential in knowing how best to negotiate the situation. Currency will differ depending on the situation. But there are some constants.

Time

Ego

Information Shared

Missed Opportunities by Meeting

These are the assets that are consumed when parties get together to try to settle a situation need to be considered before the meeting and allocated judiciously. To waste he time of others is to take away from the time they could spend elsewhere. Egos are always on the line. In a meeting you are sharing information even if you don't make progress. Don't give up information unless there is reason to do so. Each meeting needs to have a purpose, an objective.

Situation specific currency is the assets the parties bring to the negotiation. Cash, real estate, skills, expertise, products, services, and any other individual contribution that has value to one of the parties should be considered as the currency of the negotiation.

An asset may have value to you but may have little or substantially more value to someone else. Learning how to increase the value of your assets enables you to increase the return you can get when bartering. For example, selling a hamburger concept to a landlord is fine. But offering a major, internationally recognized brand that will draw customers to the shopping is far more valuable to most landlords. Present your assets in their best light. Think through how they might be of value to the other person and present the potpourri of reasons they should be valued highly. In any negotiation or mediation it is best to identify all of the salient currency issues that may have an impact on the decision makers. My expanding the currency issues, you will broaden the opportunity to craft an agreement that fully values everything that you are asked to put on the table. It allows you to extract value from the other person for something that you would have had to provide. Understand the total currency-scape and make sure each item you are being asked to contribute is properly addressed and brings its fair value.



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