Mediation/Negotiation Tip: Paying homage to Stephen Covey
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood." This is easier said than done. All parties to a negotiation, whether it is as formal as mediation, or negotiating for a raise or to purchase a car, want to be heard and understood; even more than that, they hope to convince the other side, or the mediator, that they are right and should "win". For so many it is the first time they can actually "be heard" and have someone listen to their story. While giving your side is of course very important, the best proven way to "be heard", is for you to listen. In doing so, you gain the benefit of learning what is driving the other person. You may learn something you did not know, or it may alter your perception. But foremost, when the other side knows you truly heard them and considered what they had to say, then, when you come up with your opposing or "other" view, they can accept it better, and, perhaps hear what you have to say as well. One of the most important principles in any negotiation.