Resolving conflicts through negotiation

 Conflict Resolution, Mediation, Speaking & Training  Comments Off on Resolving conflicts through negotiation
Oct 252017
 

negociationResolving conflicts through negotiation.

Resolving Conflict is a part of life. Negotiation is how conflicts are resolved. Hopefully, they can be resolved peacefully and to the satisfaction of both parties to the conflict. It is also part of any leaders skill set. Therefore, some of these blog postings will deal with ways a leader can help resolve conflicts.

I hope to provide useful information on:

  • Know and articulate several ways that good leadership can minimize conflict.
  • Understand how the acronym E.A.R. can be used as a tool for resolving conflicts (Express, Address, Resolve).
  • Use several communications skills important for resolving conflicts
  • Know negotiating skills to resolve conflicts for the benefit of all parties to the conflict.

All conflict resolution involves negotiation. Therefore as a starting point, let’s look at the definition and characteristics of negotiation.

What is Negotiation

Negotiation is a voluntary, non-binding bargaining process, in which the parties to a dispute attempt resolution among themselves.  Often, agents of the disputing parties (their lawyers, real estate agents, accountants, and so forth), who are in actual communication with each other, are the negotiators.  The actual disputing persons sometimes do not meet or participate in direct discussions until most, or all, of the dispute has been resolved.

Characteristics of Negotiation

The chief characteristics of negotiation are:

  • Mutual Consent. Negotiation is voluntary.  The parties cannot be compelled to negotiate or even negotiate in good faith.  Negotiations cease when one party declines to continue.
  • Successful Result is Enforceable. A negotiated settlement, usually memorialized in a written agreement, is as valid and enforceable as any common law contract.
  • The parties and/or their agents are in personal contact with each other.  A third party neutral is involved in negotiations.
  • No statute or case law governs the process of negotiation.  Some prefer to negotiate in person.  Others use letters, e-mail, or telephone calls.  Still others negotiate through agents or intermediaries.
  • Negotiation is a process, taking place over time, as opposed to a single meeting or a brief exchange of correspondence.
  • Negotiators share facts and arguments often in a disorganized manner.  Negotiators posture and obfuscate, misstate the law, rail and threat and bluff, implore and cajole, and mix fact with fiction, exaggeration, and lies, during a series of back-and-forth communications.
  • Negotiations are usually conducted in private.  Publicity is anathema to a frank exchange of opinions, offers, and demands negotiations.

 

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2017 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Resolving the Turkey Conflict

 Conflict Resolution, General  Comments Off on Resolving the Turkey Conflict
Nov 222016
 

Turkey Conflict

The Turkey Conflict

This is the time of the year for the turkey conflict. Thanksgiving is the day we Americans set aside to give thanks. It is most likely the only day when everyone makes an effort to enjoy a meal with their family. The day can be painful for anyone that does not have immediate family around or because of past family conflicts, being around is not practical.

For some reason, it is assumed that the meal will be turkey in some form or another. This is not the turkeys that wandered the woods near Pilgrims’ settlement. It is not even the turkeys that are infesting my neighborhood. One has taken up residence at the gas station that I frequent. While everyone is pumping gas, it is admiring itself in the reflections of the cars and trucks. No the turkeys we insist on eating are bred to be the high point of this one meal a year. That they are bred reduces them to the lowest common denominator of blandness.

Long ago, I developed a total dislike of this type of turkey. If I was to be psychoanalyzed, a connection to the corresponding family discord might be discovered. But being thankful that I am an American, I exercise my God given choice not to eat turkey without being psychoanalyzed.

My dislike started out in my youth. Only turkey was served for both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Those dinners were rotated between my aunts in San Francisco and our house. There was intense competition between my mother and my aunts to find the most economical bird. In other words, they would look for the cheapest per pound bird and would go to great lengths to secure it. At one point the record was 29 cents per pound. Even in olden times that was extremely cheap. The taste matched the price – cheap.

One year, my mother, after considerable nagging by the family, invested in a Butterball turkey. That is the kind with the little read button that pops out when it is perfectly done. As was her habit, she put it in the oven before dawn. After the requisite number of hours, the little red button popped out right on queue. Unfortunately, the family was not due to arrive until 1 p.m. and it had reached perfection far faster that previous cheaper birds. Therefore she left it in the oven until noon. There is the dinner scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation where everyone watches the dead bird shrivel and is still force to eat it – I’ve lived that.

After marriage, the “discussion” as to having or not having turkey resolved itself. My wonderful wife one year decided to have a big turkey feast with all of the fixings. She purchased a quality frozen 25 plus pound turkey. While readying it for defrosting, it fell out of its perch in the freeze and aimed for her big toe. The ‘pope’s nose’, followed by the other 24 pounds, hit its target with dead accuracy. We spend the entire evening in the emergency room. The toe was broken. Unable to barely stand let alone cook, the job of cooking the dead bird fell to me. Convinced, that was the last time we served Meleagris gallopavo aka dead bird.

I am thankful for a multitude of blessings. One is the privilege not to eat turkey if you don’t want to eat it. May you be thankful for all of your blessings this season and may you avoid the turkey conflict.

 

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

A handy tool for resolving conflicts.

 Conflict Resolution, Mediation, Speaking & Training  Comments Off on A handy tool for resolving conflicts.
Oct 252016
 

conflict tool

Tool for resolving conflicts

A very handy tool for approaching any conflict situation that needs to be resolved is E.A.R. 

Ask the people involved to:

Express – What you want and what are you doing to get it.

Address – Why it is working or not working.

Resolve – What ways there are to solve the situation.

**For the last decade I’ve been involved with leadership development of tomorrow’s leaders.  Using my expertise, I am training the youth leaders in conflict resolution.  This blog is adapted from my training materials. 

 

 

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Mediators Playing the Devil’s Advocate

 Conflict Resolution, Mediation, Speaking & Training  Comments Off on Mediators Playing the Devil’s Advocate
Oct 182016
 

Devil's Advocate

Devil’s Advocate

Mediators Playing the Devil ’s Advocate

Devil’s Advocate is one of the roles of a mediator. A good mediator such as myself, does not forfeit his personal opinions simply because he serves as a neutral facilitator. These opinions and preconceptions can help inform certain beliefs. However, a strong mediator knows how to view a case from multiple angles. This is an important quality to possess as it helps provide a counter point to a party or attorney’s one-sided approach.

A Strong Mediator

A strong mediator gives consideration to the strengths and weaknesses of both sides. When in a private caucus with one side, the mediator may mention a potential weakness in this side’s argument. He may even ask the party what his or her argument would be if he or she was on the other side. He or she may get the attorney to contemplate the same scenario and ask for facts and legal theories that would support the other side.
By recognizing the strengths of the other side and the weaknesses of their own side, parties can start to contemplate the potential of what would happen if they lose. This can often inspire them to fully participate in negotiations so that they can avoid the possibility of losing the case or facing other adverse effects.

Sounding Board

Mediator is a “sounding board” for your arguments, and for offers/counter offers. I can deal with the hypotheticals and be a “coach”, to deliver bad news and explain opponents’ responses to offers. I, as a strong mediator give you an opportunity to explain the case to a neutral person help you and your attorney evaluate your case. Finally, a good mediator helps identify components of solutions from your stand point and delivers bad news to both sides.

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

The best way for a legal professional to set up a Twitter Account

 Social Media & Legal Profession, Speaking & Training  Comments Off on The best way for a legal professional to set up a Twitter Account
Oct 042016
 

account

Twitter account for lawyers

A Twitter Account is only one aspect of Social Media that Legal Professionals need to master. My Project Social Media presents my thoughts regarding the impact of social media marketing on the practice of law. See my page to for more information.

The best way for a legal professional to set up a Twitter Account:

Setting up Your Twitter Account
• Go to www.twitter.com
• Select: New To Twitter? Join Today!
• Fill in your actual name (or firm Name).
• Fill in the email address you are going to associate with twitter.
• Create a twitter username. The @ symbol will be added latter. Though you can change your user name latter, it will be confusing to any followers. Make it descriptive of yourself (or firm). Mine is kpstrongman. Make it as short as possible so that it is easily remembered and easily use to retweet. My full name is Kenneth Paul Strongman so kpstrongman is pretty short for me as opposed to Kenneth_Paul_Strongman. That would consume 22 characters. Twitter will also search to make sure that the username you selected is not in use by some one else.
• Hit: Create My Account.

Don’t Follow

Don’t follow any one yet. Twitter will start walking you through a few steps to find your friends on twitter and suggest other people you might want to follow. Since anyone that you follow will receive an email from you, they will often check you out to see if you are interesting enough to be followed by them. Without a compelling/interesting profile they will then ignore you. First impressions count on twitter as in real non-virtual life.

I will continue with the next steps in subsequent posts.

 

**Why the picture of flowing water?  Twitter is a constant flow of information and communications. 

 

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Why Twitter for Lawyers? For Listening.

 Social Media & Legal Profession, Speaking & Training  Comments Off on Why Twitter for Lawyers? For Listening.
Sep 202016
 

Devil's Postpile National Monument - listening device

Twitter as a listening device and headline scanner.

Twitter as a listening device and headline scanner are aspects of Social Media that Legal Professionals need to master. My Project Social Media presents my thoughts regarding the impact of social media marketing on the practice of law. See my page to for more information.

Therefore let’s get to the heart of the matter:

Why twitter?

Why twitter you may well ask. Isn’t there too many social media outlets? Why do I have to learn and do another one? What is the difference? Why use it?
It is true that there are many social media outlets. More are developed each day and all are a little different from each other. What makes twitter different is it use and how it should be used. Most social media is an opportunity for you the user to push out information about yourself, your firm and your interest. Twitter can be used for this and is being used for this. It is not the primary reason why you should use twitter.

Listening Device

Twitter works best when it is not viewed as a channel to push out information. With twitter you can listen to what everyone else is saying. You can focus on what individuals or firms are saying about anything. Twitter is immediate. You can easily find out what is of interest to your community of friends, associates, competitors or just plan celebrities ors and politicians. By using hash tags to search you can find out what is going on regarding a specific topic.

Headline Scanner

Twitter is a headline scanner. With it you can see what is the most important to the people using twitter. It could be major events such as a hurricane or earthquake. It is faster than any other news media in getting information out to the world. It was a neighbor down the street from Osama Ben Laden that first alerted the world that the Navy Seals were attacking. At the other extreme, a twitter user alerted the world that the TSA in Arizona were convinced that a drivers license from the District of Columbia was not a valid identification to use in airport security because the District of Columbia is not a state of these United States.

A caveat must be used at the same time. There is no absolute guarantee that what is tweeted is the truth. On the other hand, not all is what it seems even though it is mostly true. The selfy at the 2014 Academy Awards was not completely spontaneous. The next day the Wall Street Journal reported that the selfy was the result of a product placement by a cell phone manufacture that was also a sponsor of the program. It did successfully get publicity. The tweets and retweets brought twitter to its knees and most news organizations published articles on it and the selfy the next day. Even the Wall Street Journal article provided more publicity.

Next time, I will discuss more ways Twitter can be used by legal professionals.

**Why the picture of flowing water?  Twitter is a constant flow of information and communications. 

 

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

To a Lawyer, what is a tweet? i.e. a definition for an attorney.

 Social Media & Legal Profession, Speaking & Training  Comments Off on To a Lawyer, what is a tweet? i.e. a definition for an attorney.
Aug 232016
 

definition of a tweet

definition of a tweet

Lawyers need to understand the basic definition of a tweet. Twitter is only one aspect of Social Media that Legal Professionals need to master. My Project Social Media presents my thoughts regarding the impact of social media marketing on the practice of law. See my page to for more information.

What is a Tweet?

A tweet is 140 characters long. This is the bane of the legal community and any one that appreciates proper English, although a tweet can be in any language. We in the legal community have a tendency to be verbose. We want to add a lot of wherefore’s and whereas’ to clarify what we are trying to communicate. You can’t do that in 140 characters. About the only thing you can communicate is a headline. Good grammar goes down the drain. If you start to think in headlines you will start to get the hang of Twitter.

Here’s the real limit. A space is a character. A period is a character. So a period and two spaces between two sentences is a total of three characters. A special character is also a character. So that quote marks and apostrophes count towards the 140 limit.

This be comes problematic when you want, and you do want, to link to a website. Website addresses are long by their very nature. They, without difficulty will push you over the 140 limit. Services have developed to help circumvent this problem by shortening a URL. The added advantage is that they will also track how many times the link on your tweet is accessed.

You also do not want to use all 140 characters for your tweet because it will limit the ability of someone to retweet your tweet. We will deal with retweeting later.

**Why the picture of flowing water?  Twitter is a constant flow of information and communications. 

 

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

FAQ: Are Retired Judges Better Mediators?

 Arbritration, FAQ, Mediation  Comments Off on FAQ: Are Retired Judges Better Mediators?
Aug 092016
 

Stinson Beach, Dip Sea Trail, CP XC Team

FAQ: Are Retired Judges Better Mediators?

It is assumed that a retired judge makes a better mediator than someone that has not been a judge.  This couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Rendering judgment requires an entirely different skill set than helping the parties resolve their case through mediation.  The day to day activities of a judge do not lend themselves to facilitating the resolution of conflicts.  The basic skill that is useful to a judge but not a mediator is the ability to make quick and final decisions on any particular issue. Therefore when they approach mediation they want to make the decision and not let the parties control their own solution to the problem.

It is assumed that 20-years on the bench translates to 20-years experience working with civil attorneys and parties and the issues of civil litigation.  In most courts today, very few judges are presiding over civil trials.  Most of their days as spent presiding over criminal trials.  Even the remaining time of their tenure on the bench is divided between family law, juvenile, probate, and traffic.

The law practice of most judges before being appointed to the bench is not as a civil attorney.  Many were deputy district attorneys or public defenders before becoming judges.  Therefore they have no experience with any civil issues before becoming judges.

Mediation is a voluntary process that centers on discussions and decision-making, rather than judgment by a judge or retired judge. It is focused on resolving disputes based on the factual circumstances, the needs of the parties and practicality, and not solely on the legal rights of the parties. Often, the mere presence of a retired judge creates an antagonistic and adversarial atmosphere that impedes resolution rather than assisting it.

 In reality you want a mediator such as me that is trained in helping the parties resolve their problems.

Ken Strongman, MediatorAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Listening is the best way to resolve conflicts.

 Conflict Resolution, Mediation, Speaking & Training  Comments Off on Listening is the best way to resolve conflicts.
Jul 192016
 

listening

Listening to resolve conflicts

The better the information you have, the greater your chances of finding a workable solution.  Listen carefully to what others are saying, not judging until you hear everyone’s story.  Be aware of tone of voice, body language, and other clues.  Understand what each person is expressing – what he wants and what he is willing to do to get there.  Then clarify that the solution lies with all parties. 

Listen carefully to what others are saying without judgment until you have everyone’s side of the story.  Clarify what you have heard and then reframe it back to each party.  Remember the solution lays with both parties not you.

**For the last decade I’ve been involved with leadership development of tomorrow’s leaders.  Using my expertise, I am training the youth leaders in conflict resolution.  This blog is adapted from my training materials. 

 

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Lawyer beware: twitter is transmitting more than 140 characters.

 Social Media & Legal Profession, Speaking & Training  Comments Off on Lawyer beware: twitter is transmitting more than 140 characters.
Jul 052016
 

transmitting

Transmitting 140 Plus

Twitter is only one aspect of Social Media that Legal Professionals need to master. My Project Social Media presents my thoughts regarding the impact of social media marketing on the practice of law. See my page to for more information.

What is Twitter transmitting in one tweet?

What is a tweet transmitting beyond the 140 characters? A tweet is filled with metadata – information about when it was sent, by whom, using what Twitter application. Here are a few examples of what is currently in the metadata:
• Tweets creation date
• Author’s user name, screen name and biography
• Author’s location – currently the author must turn this on
• Creation date of the account
• Number of followers and number of those they are following
• Time zone of author

This is not an exhaustive list. More metadata is coming as well. Third party developers can add their own. To do more current research on what a tweet contains, you can Google “Diagram of a Tweet.”

Once you see that a tweet is a lot more than 140 characters, you can easily see the security issues and potential eDiscovery options for the legal community. My general rule of thumb is that if you post something; assume that it can be discovered.

 

**Why the picture of flowing water?  Twitter is a constant flow of information and communications. 

 

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.