When a wolf pack has you surrounded and pauses to look you up and down, they are assessing your ability to fight back. Fire, a gunshot, or a loud noise will cause them to question your appeal as the evening meal.
Qualifying your opponent's credentials and ability to commit is a reasonable strategy on your part. This applies in any negotiation where one party must rely on the other's performance to satisfy the terms of the agreement. It is your duty and right to question whether the other person is able to deliver on any promises they make.
Mediators require that a decision maker either be at the mediation or available to the representative so that an accord, if reached, can be committed to while the people are in the room. Negotiators can't require this but they can defer from meeting until someone who can commit is available.
When making a demand of the other party, make sure you don't agree on something you know or should know the other person can't do. Often spouses fight over quality time together. When one person is pressed to commit to spending more time at home whens it is obvious that his or her job simply won't permit that, the agreement is doomed to failure. The subsequent argument is likely to be much more heated because failure to perform will now be added to the list of issues.
If the parties both feel more time is essential, then focus not on gaining more time from the current situation but on how to change the situation to resolve the problem. It is healthier to discuss how career changes might be pursued than to berate each other over something that can't be changed.
Typical qualifying questions:
-Is there any reason we can't work this out at this time?
-Are you prepared to settle this matter today?
-Do you want to settle this matter today?
-Do you have the authority to settle this matter today?
-Who do you need to confer with on this matter?
And ask yourself the same questions.
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Before leaving camp check your rifle, ammunition, align your sights, and dress properly for the terrain and environment. These quality control steps will ensure you are to perform at your best should you find yourself in the path of a charging elephant. You will have one shot, make it good!
Quality performance, no matter what you do, pays off. Take the time to mentally and intellectually prepare to do the best job possible. Research and reflection pave the way to achievement and success.
Quality does not mean quantity. But it does mean being thorough. In the 21st Century people are moving at the speed of light. This pace does not make for good negotiations. Take the time to prepare and do the job properly. The rewards will be surprising.
Family dispute resolution requires no less effort. In fact, this arena is far more important than work related negotiations. But few take the time to research and reflect on their personal issues to seek viable options. When trying to resolve a family dispute, try first mapping out what you think you and your spouse need to get out of the discussion. Then see what options you might have to meet those needs. When you get together, try focusing on viable options to satisfy her needs before focusing on yours. Seek to ease the stress rather than allocating blame and guilt. You may be surprised at the outcome.
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When tracking a black bear be sure to also keep any eye in the trees for snakes. Don't become the prey of another predator by being too focused on your quarry.
The nature of both mediators and too many negotiators is to be on a quest to reach an accord. This is especially true of those negotiating for others where resolution is often rewarded more than achieving great terms. This penchant to always reach an accord can become a liability if one is too focused on reaching an accord rather than achieving your objectives.
Negotiators often become fixated on their primary goal. In so doing they narrow the negotiating arena to the exclusion of other opportunities that may be beneficial or detrimental to their situation. It is good to pull back from time to time, assess how the session is going and make sure that you are also considering ancillary issues that might add value to your cause.
How to tell is you are too focused on your quest:
-You catch yourself having to repeatedly bring the conversation back to the point you want to make.
-You are speaking only about one issue.
-You have prepared to discuss only one issue.
-You feel irritated when others want to talk about other matters.
-You become flustered when asked about another issue.
Be aware of the whole range of issues that may or may not impact the matter at hand. By addressing ancillary issues you may bring the parties closer together or improve the results of your efforts. Failure to do so may jeopardize the negotiation or cost you a concession you failed to request.
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When interviewing safari guides, it is appropriate to inquire about the guide's safaris that never returned.
The art of questioning is critical to dispute resolution. Only by ferreting out all of the issues and emotions impacting a dispute can a viable and durable solution be crafted.
By asking leading questions you are encouraging the other person to reveal why they feel a certain way or what they think might solve the problem. This good detective work. where You are seeking to add to the information you already have or validating your assumptions. When you ask leading questions you are indirectly managing the other people by directing the conversation.
Leading question formats:
-Why? As in, "why do you feel that way" or "why is that?"
-What? As in, "what do you mean" or "what does that mean?"
-When? As in, "when did that happen" or "when will that be?"
-If? As in, "if I agree to do that, what will you do?"
-No! As in, "no I can't do that, what else can we do?"
Do not fall prey to answering too many questions or giving away too much information. In a free-flowing question and answer session make sure you reflect and answer in a fashion that limits the information you are giving and steers the discussion in the direction you want. Don't eagerly jump in to answer questions, especially open ended questions. Ask the other person to restate or tighten the question so you can answer it accurately.
Do not be afraid to refuse to answer any question. Unless there is a gun to your head, it is your option to answer or not. If you are unsure of the answer, if it is detrimental to your cause, or if it counter-productive to the settlement process, silence is better than a response.
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Quoting Newton's theory of gravity will not slow your fall from the face of Mount Everest.
In a dispute resolution conference beware of negotiators quoting other sources of information. If you have prepared properly, you should know if the information sounds accurate or off the mark. Verify the sources before relying on the information presented.
When to quote someone else:
-When you have a reliable source with technical expertise.
-When you are not claiming to be an expert but represent someone who is.
-When you need to deflect another person's expert testimony.
-When you want to delay the discussions by introducing new information.
-When cornered and desperate for an exit strategy!
Knowing your subject well can protects you against unfounded third-party quotes and opinions. Do your homework, be informed, and don't be afraid to question an expert.
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