Negotiation Role-Plays for Building Critical Skills

Uncommon Ways To Negotiate Common Issues

By — on / Teaching Negotiation

negotiation role-plays

Here is a brief story about a teenager named Chris Jensen.

On his way home from basketball practice, he walked into a grocery store and shoplifted some candy bars and a soda. The storeowner saw him, chased after him, and, as luck would have it, they ran right into a police officer.

But instead of hauling him off to juvenile court, the victim agreed to try another method of negotiating a successful resolution. In Juvenile Justice Restorative Circle – a facilitated negotiation role-play brought to you by the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) – participants explore the question:

What does it mean to “get justice”?

As one of the TNRC’s highly engaging negotiation role-plays, participants can expect to learn how to:

  • Embrace alternative dispute resolution strategies with particular attention to how they work in criminal justice situations
  • Adapt their approach when faced with a community-based mediation setting versus a more traditional two-party mediation
  • Explore the complexities of multi-party negotiation and use the Harvard Negotiation Project’s “seven elements” model of negotiation
  • Embrace the principles of restorative justice

In Homelessness in Niceville – another popular negotiation role-play from the TNRC – participants dive deep into the question:

How do you give voice to the voiceless?

In this six-party facilitated negotiation role-play, participants learn that the town of Niceville has recently experienced an increase in their homeless population. To help provide much-needed services, the Ledbetter Foundation has given the community a one-time grant of $500,000. Representatives from different organizations – including a homeless shelter and a homeowners association – must collectively decide how to use the grant.

Participants learn how to:

  • Distinguish stated positions from underlying interests as well as prioritize their desired outcomes
  • Keep the discussion focused on the “issues” and prevent disagreements from bogging down the negotiation
  • Build coalitions and consensus through private discussions or caucuses
  • Bring opposing groups together by utilizing external resources as leverage
  • Explore the advantages and disadvantages of excluding a critical stakeholder

These are just two of the many negotiation role-plays available through the TNRC. In fact, we have an entire section dedicated to facilitated negotiations like Juvenile Justice Restorative Circle and Homelessness in Niceville.

As you know, facilitation is a skill honed through repeated practice and exposure to proven methodologies. Equipped with strategies for success, facilitators can play valuable roles as referees, ensuring that parties follow ground rules and maintain order. With our negotiation role-plays, participants can improve their skills across a variety of contexts—from human resource issues to international conflicts.

TNRC: A go-to resource for more than 25 years

In addition to offering more than 200 negotiation role-plays and simulations, the TNRC offers a wide range of effective teaching materials, including:

Most TNRC negotiation role-plays are designed for educational purposes – in college classroom settings or corporate training settings; used by mediators and facilitators seeking to introduce their clients to a process or issue; and by individuals who want to enhance their negotiation skills and knowledge.

Negotiation role-plays introduce participants to new negotiation and dispute resolution tools, techniques and strategies. Our videos, books, case studies, and periodicals are also a helpful way of introducing viewers to key concepts while addressing the theory and practice of negotiation and conflict management.

Check out all that the TNRC has in store >>v

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