Acknowledge: To convey appreciation of another’s thoughts, feelings, situation or efforts.


Active listening: To listen to another attentively, with the intent to understand, and respond using the skills of paraphrasing, empathetic response, open questions and summarizing.


Agenda: A list of issues or subject areas for discussion by parties involved in the process of conflict resolution.


Aggressive behavior: Pursing one’s goals or expressed feelings with little regard for the needs and feelings of others.


ADR: Appropriate Dispute Resolution is an umbrella phrase used to describe a continuum of dispute resolution processes ranging from collaborative, non-binding processes to litigation processes.


Appreciative Inquiry: Appreciative Inquiry is the study and exploration of what gives life to human systems when they function at their best. It is based on the assumption that questions engages people in dialogue about strengths, successes, values, hopes and dreams that in turn become agents for change.


Arbitration: A process by which an impartial third party listens to each disputant and makes a decision which is binding on them.


Arousal cycle: A model used to describe the physiological and emotional responses in conflict situations.


Assertive expression: Making direct statements about one’s thoughts, feelings and wishes, while mindful of the rights and feelings of others.


Attending skills: Non-verbal communication which shows another person that you are paying careful attention, such as relaxed, alert posture, eye contact and bodily responsiveness.


Attend:  Pay attention to words, tone volume, body posture etc.  Name the process you hear, see and experience.  Make sure your antennae are up. E.g. “What I hear or see or sense is.”  This works well for Body types and helps Parties Bridge through the Yellow Zone.


BATNA: Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement.  When realistically assessed and developed these alternatives help determine whether the agreement is one’s best option, and gives one negotiation power. The term BATNA was coined by Roger Fisher and William Ury in Getting to Yes (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1081)


Body language: Communication of feelings, attitudes and intent through non-verbal means such as posture, eye contact, distance, gestures and movements.


Both-gain: An approach based on the idea that most conflicts have several possible solutions, the best one being that which meets the needs of both  parties to the greatest degree.


Brainstorming: The generation of a wide range quantity of ideas to be used during the second stage to generate options for consideration by parties working toward agreement.


Caucusing: Holding separate meetings with each of the parties in mediation, allowing each to talk freely with the mediator about their views, feelings and needs.


Closed questions: Questions requesting specific, short responses, usually answerable by “yes” “no”, or “maybe”.


Collaborative: A style of approaching conflict with the goal of working together in a problem-solving atmosphere, and trying to reach mutually agreeable solutions.


Common ground: Any needs, concerns, or perceptions which parties in a dispute may share.


Conflict: A condition between people/groups that are interdependent, and where one or both perceive or feel angry, and find fault with the other, and use behaviors that cause problem.


Confronting: Pointing out discrepancies, with constructive intent, in a speaker’s behaviour, including between past and present statements, words and body language, and statements and actions.


Conciliation: A process whereby an impartial third party acts as a go-between with two disputants, to re-establish a relationship and/or arrive at a solution.  The advanced model is Relationship By Objective.


Disengage: To temporarily withdraw from a highly emotional exchange in order to allow for a cooling off period.


Empathetic response: Acknowledging the feeling underlying a person’s statement and the verbal content of the statement.


Empathize:  Place yourself in the context of others.  “Empathy isn’t about being nice or agreeing with people.  Empathy is about context, about observing more broadly than one’s own perspective, and it about picking up signals.


Encouragers: Brief responses to the speaker indicating that you are ‘with them” and receptive to their message.


Feedback: Constructive, informative response with the intent to promote awareness and improvement.


Heart:  Be convinced.  Reflective listening requires the listener to understand the person’s words and feelings and to suspend judgment on what is said.  Withholding judgment minimizes the chances of a speaker feeling “put-down”, builds trust, and encourages people to share information.


Hush:  Be still and centered.


“I” message: An assertive statement emphasizing one’s personal experience and talking responsibility for one’s own thoughts, feelings and behaviour rather than blaming another.


Immediacy: Verbal description of what is occurring in the moment between the speaker and listener.  


Interests: The underlying reasons a person has concerning an issue. BEACH: Beliefs, Expectations, Assumptions, Concerns, Hopes; FVPN: Fears, Values, Preferences/Priorities and Needs.


Interest-based: An approach to conflict resolution or any form of negotiation that focuses on the parties motivating forces (interests) rather than their demands (positions).


Issue: The subject matter of a difference of option: a topic for discussion where differences exist.


Mediation: Consists of the functions of an impartial third party assisting two or more disputing parties to reach a self-determined solution to a problem that requires the consent of the parties to become actionable.


Negotiation: Two or more parties confer with each other for the purpose of resolving their dispute, without the assistance of an impartial third party, but which could be facilitated if the parties so wish.


Objective criteria: Agreed upon standards used to determine fair value for goods or services. Depending upon the issues to be resolved, objective criteria include formal appraisals, prices for similar goods, expert opinion or fees paid for similar work.  Eg. Workability, Affordability, Cost-Effectiveness, Fairness, Simplicity, Flexibility, etc.


Open questions: Questions that are broad in scope and encourage the speaker to explore and elaborate. Such questions cannot be answered with “yes”, “no”, or “maybe”, and often begin with “what’ or “how”.


Paraphrase: A concise response to the speaker which states the essence of the content in the listener’s own words.


Passive behaviour: Behaviour that does not actively or directly convey one’s point of view or feeling.


Position: The solution which a party perceives will satisfy his/her interests. The positions people take are formed from the interests that they want addressed.


Power: The ability to meet one’s own needs as well as the needs of others.


Probe: A question which follows the answer to a previous question and explores what a party ahs said in order to gain more scope, depth or clarity.


Reflective listening: Acknowledging the feeling underlying a person’s statement or body language as a way of understanding their total message.


Reflect:  Use paraphrasing, summary and mirroring to reflect the content, process and response that you hear, see and experience.  “So you..(use their words)”  This works well for Head types and helps parties remain in the Green Zone.


Refocusing: Directing attention back to the agenda or topic of discussion.


Reframing: Maintaining a collaborative atmosphere by responding to aggressive, blaming or positional statements with a re-wording that is assertive, non-judgmental and interest-based.

Self-disclosure: Communicating information about one’s own experience, observations, feelings, thoughts or needs.


Self-talk: Internal thoughts, which contain expectations, attitudes or assumptions regarding a conflict situation. May be negative or positive.


Self-Mediation:  Doing mediation without a third party (Do it yourself)


Managerial/Leadership Mediation:  Engage in a Mandatory Mediation without a professional mediator’s help, in which the Rules and Procedures in Mediation applies.


Preventive Mediation:  Doing mediation without an event at which it happens, (no special meeting to resolve the issue) e.g. Policy designed with the support of all.


Conflict prevention through relationship selection:  Assessing compatibility before relationships are established (employees, friends, spouses, etc) with people who pose a low likelihood of conflict.


Summarizing: A brief re-statement of the main content and feelings a speaker has expressed over an extended period of conversation.


Trust:  Trust the process and the participants’ willingness and competence to move through it.  Trust is modeled and built as Parties Bridge to the Green Zone.


WATNA: Worst Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. This is the potential worst scenario if one is unable to come to an acceptable agreement. The term WATNA was coined by Roger Fisher and William Ury in Getting to Yes (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981).


Win-lose: An approach to conflict in which one of the parties gain at the expense of the other.