Consultation frequently leads to negotiation. Negotiation involves the parties discussing the matters in dispute directly between themselves and trying to come to an agreement.

Parties often decide to negotiate directly with each other. Their success in reaching a settlement often depends upon their competence in negotiating. First-time negotiators are not likely to have the skills to achieve a good outcome unless they are coached. As with consultation, an independent facilitator can be useful to undertake that coaching.

The most effective type of negotiation is the principled approach.

The principled approach relies upon participants overcoming strong negative emotions to focus on working together to resolve the conflict. The principled approach is described in the well-known book, Getting to Yes, by Roger Fisher and William Ury. The four principles that apply to constructive negotiation are:

  • Separate the people from the problem
  • Focus on interests, not positions
  • Generate a variety of possibilities before deciding what to do
  • Insist that the result is based on an objective standard.