On Monday 21st September, Forward Thinking, in cooperation with the House of Wisdom, convened an online workshop to provide training on the role of communication during negotiations. This session was led by Professor Alain Lempereur and was the fifth in a series of online negotiations training workshops in Gaza.

Theoretical and interactive exercises enabled participants to develop a deeper appreciation of effective communication in negotiations. Themes included: how to build understanding, respect and trust between parties during negotiations. Often, negotiators will have opposing ideas of what ‘winning’ looks like and will have different perceptions of the context that they operate within. Communication is necessary for both sides to effectively convey their needs and perceptions and to move towards acceptable and durable solutions.

Participants were encouraged to practice ‘active communication’ during negotiations. Active communication requires both listening and speaking and is grounded in the idea of empathy. By listening to and understanding the needs of the other, negotiators will be able to tailor their requests accordingly and more convincingly persuade the other side of their own positions and demands.

Professor Alain Lempereur is the Professor and Director of the Conflict Resolution and Coexistence Programme (COEX) at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policyand Management. He is an affiliated faculty and executive committee member of the Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School. Over the last 25 years Alain has conducted consultative missions and training for several international organisations including UN agencies, NGOs, and national governments on conflict reconciliation.