Role Play Simulations to Help You Become a Better Mediator

Learn how to improve skills through negotiation examples.

By — on / Teaching Negotiation

Negotiation Examples

When opposing parties cannot come to a satisfactory resolution, a strong mediator can make all the difference. By effectively examining the issues at hand and helping parties identify creative solutions, a well-trained mediator builds consensus where there once was none. To help professionals learn the art of mediation, the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) offers a wide range of negotiation examples, simulations, and role-play exercises.

Two of the TNRCs most useful negotiation examples for learning how to become a better mediator are Dirty Laundry and Tulia And Ibad.

Dirty Laundry – Featured Mediation Role-Play Simulation

It could happen to anyone. A customer brought several customized shirts to a dry cleaner. When he picks up his laundry, he finds that the shirts have been ruined. The dry cleaner agrees to reimburse the customer, but they have differing views on what is “reasonable compensation”. In this three-person small-claims dispute, the mediator must create a process that allows the parties to find a deal that’s satisfactory to each of them.

In this negotiation role-play, participants learn how to:

  • Determine what meeting design is most beneficial for the situation (caucus, joint session, or both)
  • Recognize creative options after assessing the various interests
  • Understand the importance of letting parties vent their anger as well as grasping the role that emotions play in mediation
  • Help the parties define their BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement)
  • Play a transforming role – helping move parties out of a zero-sum mindset into an integrative bargaining or problem-solving framework

Tulia And Ibad – Featured Mediation Role-Play Simulation

The stakes are high in this three-team, multi-issue mediation involving representatives from the country of Tulia, the country of Ibad, and the Organization of African Unity (O.A.U.) regarding a cease-fire between the two warring countries.

As many of our negotiation examples focused on mediation demonstrate: knowing how to mediate is important not only for mediators but also for negotiators, who need to understand how to make good use of neutral assistance. In this negotiation exercise, participants will have ample opportunity to:

  • Look behind positions for underlying interests and motivations
  • Consider the mediating technique of using a single negotiating text
  • Utilize position/interest charts as well as a range of preparation tools and techniques
  • Understand the role that “face-saving” and legitimacy can have on a dispute
  • Hone their political, negotiation, and creative skills to come to a satisfactory resolution

Teaching Moment – Getting The Right Parties To The Table

Making sure the right people are at the table can be crucial for a successful negotiation. The Program On Negotiation’s Vice-Chair of Education, Lawrence Susskind offers key insights and negotiation examples that stress the importance of having empowered decision makers present during a negotiation in this free video.

Enjoy this and more videos at our Teaching Negotiation Resource Center playlist on youtube.

Take your training to the next level with the TNRC

The Teaching Negotiation Resource Center offers a wide range of effective teaching materials, including

TNRC materials are designed for educational purposes. Negotiation examples and simulations are used in college classroom settings or corporate training settings; used by mediators and facilitators seeking to introduce their clients to a processor issue; used by individuals who want to enhance their negotiation skills and knowledge.

Role-play simulations 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.

Which negotiation examples do you find most appealing? Leave a comment.

Check out all that the TNRC has in store >>

Originally published in 2014.

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One Response to “Role Play Simulations to Help You Become a Better Mediator”

  • Mediation H.

    Good mediators are seen as friendly, empathetic, and respectful. They listen carefully, appreciate the emotions and needs that underlie each conversation, and come across as genuinely concerned with the well-being of everyone involved.


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