CDRC Vienna is a brave and bold newcomer to the top tier of mediation and negotiation competitions worldwide. Constructing a parallel to the ever-so solid, technical, social and professional groundwork set-in by the ICC Paris Competition, the International Bar Association (IBA) and the Vienna International Arbitral Centre (VIAC) join forces to bring to law and business students the ultimate moot experience on the science of mediation and negotiation.
Apart from its unmatched opportunity to develop these crucial skills necessary for surviving the corporate world, the CDRC week in Vienna provides for extensive networking opportunities with the best and brightest in the field. These bonds and connections with brilliant-minds ultimately lead you onto fast-track paths to success. In simple terms, it is a must-have experience for anyone who is seriously interested in the field of alternative dispute resolution.
As exciting and energetic it may sound, it goes without saying that the experience comes at a price. Participants must be ever-ready and willing to dedicate enormous physical and intellectual stamina into changing and improving the most core aspects of their attitude and conduct, even in the way he or she perceives the world around them. Intense amounts of studying the case, the theory, the technique, and the execution of the theory and technique are crucial for a good performance against world-class opponents that everyone will face at the competition.
My advice to the participants this year will be to
- Leave no stone unturned with regard to the moot case. This is essential and it shall be your working tool throughout the whole competition, from day-1 to the final;
- Deepen your knowledge in mediation and negotiation theory. Partisans of the collaborative value-creation theory should enjoy the learning, and have, at a minimum, a significant grasp over the concepts, strategies and techniques presented in some of the classic negotiation books, such as Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher & William Ury, Difficult Conversations by Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen, and Beyond Winning by Robert Mnookin; and, finally,
- At the game-time, keep calm.
As to the moot case, my perspective is that it is more complex, dense and detailed than those presented in the ICC Mediation Competition. Feel free to be more pragmatic in your approach to the terms and conditions set forth therein. Be technical as to your interpretation of the text. Thoroughly study the legal procedures involved in the case, and further develop your interpretation on the business and commercial aspects related thereto.
It is, and it will be, expected that you act realistically, showing all the observers, judges, team members, and competitors that you are not just simply acting a character, but that you “are” the character himself/herself. This requires constant practice, mindfulness and being completely aware of everything that is happening in and around. For you to be someone else, to put on someone else’s skin, to step into someone else’s shoes, you must know and understand the general attributes of that person’s behavior, the technical aspects acquired by said person and the emotional intelligence said person would reasonably have. Basically, you must know your character better than he would know himself.
This is all good, but not sufficient. We will only succeed as mediators and negotiators if we are properly studied. Without a highly sophisticated technical framework, there is no use in knowing the case. Our technique, the abstract theory, and the full understanding of the concepts of the negotiation theory is what enables us to deliver exceptionally good negotiation sessions. This is the core factor that differentiates a problem-solver, an effective negotiator and a value generator, from an average professional.
Therefore, study long and study hard. Acknowledge and internalize the concepts and theory necessary to deliver your learning in a high-pressured environment against tough opponents. Much like muscle memory, you must train yourself and be so familiar with the negotiation theory that you act and react, say and move, automatically in perfect alignment with the abstract concept of the “art of negotiation”.
Then comes the day when you will sit at the table in Vienna, and then, you must deliver everything that you’ve prepared. This is what you lived for. This is game-time. You’ve put in the work and you are ready to implement the strategy, your knowledge of the case, the law and the theory. Be confident. Get out there and show the world what you can do.
By now, everyone reading this piece would have understood that this is much more than a mere study group or a student experience. This is a passionate and enthusiastic, quasi professional event, which may effectively change your life forever and the way you perceive things.
I guarantee that getting in contact with the negotiation and mediation world, studying the theory and attending as a participant in both, the ICC Paris and CDRC Vienna, have changed mine.
I hope CDRC Vienna this year will change yours too.
See you all in Vienna.