Negotiation, Facilitation and Mediation:

Principles and Practices

5th October 2011



Focus on Interests, Not Positions

Today's Reading

  1. Fisher, R. and W. Ury. 1991. "Focus on interests, not positions" in Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In. New York: Penguin (2nd Edition) pp. 40-55. Chapter 3.


Preparation: Using Simulation To Explore Interests Behind Positions

For this class session use your assigned stakeholder role in the Valley Simulation to develop ideas about your interests and associated positions that you might take into the anticipated multistakeholder negotiation about the valley's future. Think about the relationship between your interests and any position. Note the person with whom you will be paired-up during the in-class discussion and think about how you will talk about your interests and positions in light of what you know about them (i.e. almost nothing at the outset of your exchange).


  1. In preparation for this class session you have created some examples to illustrate how interests lie behind positions. Now get together with the person with whom you have been paired-up and tell them the bare essentials of your assigned role (e.g. you are a member of the environmental coalition and live and work for a provincial conservation organization in Vancouver). You each have ten minutes to determine what the other party's interests are once they have stated an opening position relating to their views on the future of the Valley. After 20 minutes we will discuss the experiences. Don't forget what we discussed last time about perceptions, emotions and communication. This is another opportunity to practice concise and effective communication - a challenge both to the speaker and the listener.

  2. At the next class session we will want to use the information that each of you have created about your role's interests and your perception of the interests of other stakeholders. Please post your information on the simulation web site.

  3. After the class you might want to discuss with your case study partners the extent to which you had considered the points and used the strategies suggested in Chapter 3 as you complete Assignment 1 and move forward.