One year has already passed since my journey at the IBA-VIAC Consensual Dispute Resolution Competition (CDRC), held in Vienna. It was a year of exciting opportunities, hard choices and fulfillments, some of which – heavily influenced and marked by my CDRC experience.
Twelve months after this occasion ou jamais, in my hometown of Pleven, Bulgaria and with the merriest of memories, I am assembling different pieces from former articles in a single composition of suggestions and tips for all those lucky devils out there who have yet to experience the magic of CDRC. Enjoy!
Negotiation techniques you may find useful:
- You ought to be conscious of the reality that almost every fellow CDRC competitor will know the problem by heart, shall successfully push forward their agenda and manage the negotiation process with ease. What you may need to do (especially in the shoes of the CEO) is to show – physically, verbally, emotionally – that there are worlds within you.Concretely, whenever you are at the negotiation table, it is of paramount importance to know every single meticulous detail, chronological event and point of ambiguity in the case by heart – beyond your subjective perception and evaluation of what you presume/felt happened.
As a party, it is also wise to fully understand your BATNA (Best Alternative To the Negotiated Agreement), WATNA (Worst Alternative To the Negotiated Agreement), and ZOPA (Zone of Possible Agreement). In addition, it is important to be aware of your weak points – some of which need to be openly shared with the mediator and strategically inserted in the discussion – and few (for instance main three) key realistic priorities for the present meeting.
Thus, at any point of the negotiation experience, you will: a). know where you stand; b). not allow the other side to frivolously Capoeira with the dispute facts; c). have the liberty to explore versatile options way beyond the narrow frame of the case.
- Whilst it is important to acknowledge the benefits of the mediation/negotiation process and your passion to contribute to the latter, quite often – with a nod to the past and an eye to the future – it is better to be proactive and quickly stop pussyfooting around the issues.
- Also, showing that you can echo the other party’s words, that you have adopted the mediation non-adversarial concept of problem-solving even on a purely linguistic level – all of this is precious and helps you create a fertile negotiation climate.
However, it may be better to not dive too deeply into sugary phrases. Negotiation is neither a love parade, nor is it a 4th-wall Stanislavsky théâtre. Hence, should you happen to use a so-called golden phrase (ex. “I deem we need to rebuild our partnership on the pillar of trust…”), it may be more useful to exemplify the matter and wave goodbye to the ghosts of sugary abstractness (“… and what I envision is a regular monthly meeting at your new co-working space”). Patere quam ipse fecisti legem.
What you shouldn’t miss
This competition is a unique academic forum, since it allows you to spend a week in an informal atmosphere among a galaxy of mediation stars who are more than eager to render insights into the vivid worlds of alternative dispute resolution. So, instead of being strung out on perfectionism and constantly stressing out over the competition with your mentors and peers, join all social events, participate actively in the workshops, get to know everybody – be it fellow participants, coaches or expert assessors.
Join the CDRC family by talking to at least five fellow students and three professionals each day (Claudia Winkler can give you further instructions with regards to this), explore Vienna – beginning with the futuristic campus of the University of Economics and Business. Oh, one final tip, which a calendar year after my CDRC journey I realise is utterly important – if you have a particular proclivity for adrenalin experiences, do try the Black Mamba at the Vienna Prater!
Written by Georgi Todorov Elenkov.
Georgi Todorov Elenkov is a law student at Sofia University “St.Kliment Ohridski”, pursuing a career in international commercial law and ADR. He works at Legal Solutions Partners, a law office providing legal and business advice with a prime focus on commercial matters. Having participated in many international forums, i.e. ICMC (Paris) and the second edition of CDRC, and having successfully certified as a professional mediator, Georgi aims to play an important role in the Bulgarian ADR community and actively promote mediation in his home country. Literature, theatre and travelling are among Georgi’s many interests.