A workshop on conflict resolution/effective negotiation

I am in USA on business, hoping to have a short break from moderation duties, watching with increasing alacrity some of the exchanges on here.

A lot of the ill-tempered exchanges on here could be avoided with some basic skills on how to achieve a peaceful resolution.

Would there be an appetite for a workshop on this or are we happy to accept that having the occasional scrap is an essential element of being British...?


  • Didn't you try this some time ago?

    What was the outcome?
  • Good idea Glyn.

  • Jason said:
    Didn't you try this some time ago?

    What was the outcome?
    There was a big argument about where the workshop should have been held
  • Glyn, how about opening a pop-up bun stall on the quay instead.
    You'll do a roaring trade supplying high quality ammo for the various contretemps.

  • How about a ranting thread - when someone starts to rant they move over to the rant thread and get on with it!

  • Great idea, but is it possible to do on a mass scale (which, judging by the amount of road rage and web rage in these parts it's much needed!)?

    Quite amazed by the thread on weeds....I mean how does that happen?
  • Hi All.

    Sorry but just got to the airport.

    I guess I was half joking when I suggested the workshop and have to admit I expected more wise guy comments than yes/no/maybes...

    The last suggestion I made was along the same lines and it got a similar response.

    How utterly stupid of me to try again ;-)

    Reminds me of a certain scene from a certain film...

  • Glyn I don't really understand your reaction. Various people on this thread think it's worth trying. Isn't Wivenhoe meant to be open to experimental stuff? Why don't you just set one up and see what happens?

    I followed the conflict resolution high point quite extensively, also restorative justice, and was also at one time a trade union rep where we did lots of mediation. When it gets people to understand their opponent (and see that there is another point of view, thus leading to self-enlightenment too) it can be great. Given how terse politics is right now it might not be applicable to every situation (there's no papering over some cracks) but for community relations, yeah it would be great.

    I do think there is a lot of anger and anxiety in these parts (as everywhere) and actually I think we might be more prone to effective action and activity if we weren't tying ourselves in knots all the time.
  • I'd be interested in exploring the positive elements of true discussion. The ideas in a media blog I've just seen seem applicable to the forum.

    Two hundred years ago, Jeremy Bentham advocated: equal rights for women, the decriminalisation of homosexuality, the abolition of slavery, the abolition of the death penalty, and animal rights.

    These ideas were taken up and built upon founding utilitarianism which defined the purpose of a civilised society as "the greatest happiness for the greatest number".

    We don’t have discussions anymore.

    Sides are chosen and then there is no discussion, no compromise. The object is merely to vilify and destroy the other side. One of the main contributing factors is online and social media. Dave Trott blog  (You can still read it if you close the popup if it asks you to register) 

  • Well said Dazzer.
  • Ditto! Thanks for these latter contributions.

    Clouds of despondency are slowly clearing. I can see a nice little thread developing here now.

    Razer is absolutely right. Too many discussions or negotiations begin with people taking a position and working to it without doing the essential groundwork of seeking to understand other people's position. There is an immediate climate of conflict rather than a mutual premise for finding a solution.

    Some of this is an attitude of mind but much of it is a skill which, if we can see the benefits of executing the skill, would then become a preferred approach...

    We can't always execute perfectly what we know works best, but knowing what should happen and having the humility to be self critical in reviewing our performance means we can get better results.

    But to use the cliche - you have to want to change. If you can't even begin to see the benefits of having more effective transactions then you won't invest the time and energy in it.

    And so we see on a daily basis that people waste energy and get poor outcomes...
    ...which are always somebody else's fault ;-)
  • Hang on - are we talking about transactions or conversations?

    Or are they both the same thing?
  • A conversation is a transaction. Most books on transactional analysis refer to human interaction in the verbal sense.
  • Gosh. This gets complicated. 
  • And I usually visit the forum for a bit of light relief.
  • Whats wrong with devil's advocates ?
  • @kst, can you help me out with the (hidden?) meaning and relevance of your question please?
  • I think Kst is saying that a stance of polemical opposition, 'throwing a spanner in the works,' or being a contrarian is acceptable. Though I think that kind of interaction comes off poorly in online platforms, because they don't have the nuance of face to face interactions. It's why well-meaning people often come across as trolls.

    Not that I'm entirely innocent, but on the whole I think it's better to be straightforward on social media rather than arch, cynical or adopting a position to generate controversy. People, from what I can gather, find that kind of acting out on digital platforms tiring, upsetting and anxiety producing on the whole.
  • I'm right there with you on that.

    Being a devil's advocate without a bond of trust doesn't always achieve its desired outcome...
  •  think Kst is saying that a stance of polemical opposition, 'throwing a spanner in the works,

    It can often open the discussion up to reveal both sides., 
  • The problem being people don't generally enjoy being revealed in public. I share kst's appreciation of infernal advocacy, but it rarely achieves what it sets out to, unfortunately.
  • Right. I have just had a quick dash to Tesco and seen the most awful transaction featuring two young Chinese lads talking to each other through the checkout with barely a nod of acknowledgement to the cashier. No eye contact; no "thank you" or "goodbye".


    I would be (and sadly often have been) similarly dismayed to see any British people behave like that in another country. Sadly, all too many of us are deficient in these skills to the extent that I think it costs us more than people might think.

    So I think I will put together a workshop on social skills and run it anyway to see who turns up.

    As I am currently not working I will charge a small entry fee but that will be far less than you might expect from others with my experience. I would expect to take this material with me anyway to a new venture that I am planning with some like-minded colleagues so it doesn't matter if the takings don't cover the time to prepare and deliver it. If I am working by the time I do the workshop, I'll donate the proceeds to the Food Bank.

    I'll put together a short prospectus which I will publish here and get working on it.

    Thanks for the encouraging comments earlier in this thread.
  • I should have said that I will cover a broad range of social and communication skills. Just brainstorming it now.

    Here is a nice little clip that covers just one aspect of what will be covered.

    Oh - and by the way - it is NOT making or inferring any political point.

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