CEDR travels to Cuba (Part 2)


Day 3
Today focused on some of the key techniques to negotiate effectively and I sensed that this really was a new concept for the participants.  We covered topics such as anchoring, the negotiation dance, and the framework for making offers and then put it all together and delegates negotiated a simple commercial negotiation.  Each participant admitted the exercise was very much outside of their comfort zone but they all enjoyed it immensely!  The major learning for delegates today was that there is a framework and skills that can be learned and used to negotiate effectively.

Day 4
Mediation was the order of the day today: We applied the skills taught in the previous days to a mediation context.  After doing a demonstration of the mediation process and discussing its key principles we used two role pays for participants to have a go.  These role plays had been designed and written for the Cuban context.  For example one was between a coach and a player of a baseball team (they love baseball here!).  Many of the participants mentioned how good the role plays were to be contextualised for the Cuban environment.  It has especially been brought home to me how more effective it is if participants can relate to the role plays.  The other thing which was great to see was how well the mediators applied the skills learnt on the previous day to acting in a mediatory capacity.
Working with a community and family mediator/ trainer, both Gerry and I wanted to raise the different models of joint or private meetings with the participants.  We had originally planned on doing two demonstrations showcasing the two models however we agreed to just do the one with a brief demonstration being of me running a private meeting and presenting the decision to have a joint or private meeting  as merely a process choice to be taken depending on the dispute.  This worked brilliantly and during role play participants made sensible choices about joint or private meetings.  As mediation professionals we need to stop thinking in different models of mediation and develop the mind -set of questioning what the most appropriate process may be in order to promote resolution.
The day ended with a fiesta for everyone with all of the different classes doing some form of performance and then in true Cuban style lots and lots of dancing!  They even managed to persuade me up to do a bit of salsa!  Very good negotiation!

Last day
We did final role plays today so that everyone got a go at mediating and then participants all did course evaluations. The feedback was really overwhelming.  As a trainer you know when people are giving genuine feedback and this group were very genuine.  The course was very different and exciting for them both in terms of its content but also through the interactive methodology.  As a mediator and trainer what’s more exciting was that participants said that they really had learned new skills that they could take back into their professional and personals lives.  Job done I think!
I finished the course by showing them the New Zealand Haka and just as they did to me last night (in getting me to dance salsa), I got them all up to do the Haka with me!  Reciprocity in action and great fun!!

Post script
After the end of the course I made a dash back from Santa Clara which is 3 hours to Havana to get a 1 hour flight to Santiago de Cuba.  Unfortunately the flight was cancelled (after 6 hours of waiting) and this leg of the journey became a 15 hour bus trip exacerbated by a flat tire en-route. I really need my holiday now in Bienvenidos de Cuba!



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James South
James South is CEDR’s Director of Global Training and Consultancy and has been mediating public and private sector disputes for 17 years. As one of the world’s most experienced dispute resolution trainers and consultants James is responsible for the development of CEDR’s leading courses in Mediation, Negotiation and Conflict Management for legal and business organisations, the public sector, universities and professional bodies.

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