Want to know the true secret to negotiation and mediation? Stop trying to find a swift resolution.
So often when we are in emotional situations we go straight to problem-solving. Research shows that men are the worst at this, we just want to help you to get on with things and move forward.
Just like a book that has a beginning, middle and end to complete the story, so too do negotiations/mediations. However, the order is different.
Start in the middle, what are you facing you right now? Ask the other person, "So what is important to you right now?" Or perhaps, "Let's look at where we are at this moment." This brings everyone to the same state and focuses on the topic.
The next step is to go back in time to examine how you got to the present point. While it is sometimes good to be in the here and now then move forward, in emotional situations you need to find out the underlying issues. Say "I would like to know more about how we came to this point" or "Tell me what happened prior to this point so that I can get a better understanding of your situation."
By doing this, you allow the other person to explain their situation, they will tell you how they 'feel' about things as the story unfolds, and you allow them to vent. Because they vent as they talk to you, their logic brain will engage.
An acknowledged emotion is disarmed. Therefore, use words such as frustrating, confusing, complicated, annoying, etc. Why, because this is the underlying reason (the cause) of anger and rage.
The third step is to move on with a mutual agreement. So often we suggest something first and wait for the response. Try asking the other person "So what would you like to see as an outcome?" If you have allowed the other person to vent adequately and have listened through active listening skills, you would by now have gained a rapport.
Furthermore, by asking them to go first you have made it about them and they will feel obliged to allow you to suggest a resolution.
Stop problem solving, allow an open discussion, use the 8 active listening skills strategies, and go back over the past before moving forward.
Your negotiation/mediation will be much easier.