Author Archive

John Curtis

John Curtis

John Curtis is a successful lawyer with over 15 years’ experience in litigation focusing on Sport Law and Mediation Services. In addition, he is an expert in providing engaging, hands-on Conflict Resolution Training including Mediation Training, Negotiation Skills Training and Conflict Coach Training

A Closer Look at the Sources of Conflict

John Curtis, .

Where does conflict come from? We like to think it comes from other people; certainly not from ourselves! But conflict is like a collision; in fact, the word means “to strike together.” We bump up against people or situations that appear to be antagonistic to us. Conflict is virtually inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it must be negative. When we can understand where conflict comes from, we can map out more effective strategies for resolving it.

Conflict springs from a variety of sources:

Can Online Mediation Work?

John Curtis, .

You can do some weird things online: there is a site, for instance, that allows you to buy and sell souls. If you need some cash and don’t mind eternal damnation, you might make a few bucks. On the buyer side, you have some pretty good options: Henry Kissinger’s soul is up for bid, as is Bill Gates’. Online, you can launch a career on YouTube, become a wedding officiant, rent a grandmother, husband, family, or puppy, or buy an SU-100 Soviet tank destroyer. Online mediation is tame by comparison. Tame, but is it effective?

5 Reasons to Strive for Win-Win Negotiations

John Curtis, .

The idea of zero-sum games is that every gain is offset by loss: there is a winner and a loser. When something takes, something else has to give. This is the mindset into which many people enter negotiations: “If I win, he loses. If he wins, I lose.” But life isn’t a zero-sum game, and negotiation doesn’t have to be either. Maybe some games have to have a loser; but win-win negotiations do not.

Technically, a win-win negotiation refers not to the specific process, but the destination.  Usually, these sorts of outcomes are made more likely by an “interest based” approach but this is not absolutely necessary.

Making Predictions: Do You Have the Evidence You Need?

John Curtis, .

“I have long felt that the only value of stock forecasters is to make fortune tellers look good.” Billionaire investor Warren Buffett

If you gave a monkey 100 darts to throw at a dartboard, he would hit it just about as many times as a forecaster would pick the right stocks. The difference is that monkeys are not generally cocky about their ability to hit the board, while those making complicated predictions, without immediate feedback, tend to be overconfident in their ability. So, your stock tip for the day is to be wary of those who claim to be accurate stock forecasters, and your mediation tip for the day is do not become overconfident in your ability to make predictions based on interpretations of body language. Either way, you may as well go to the fortune teller.

Negotiation Skill #1: Ask for What you Want!

John Curtis, .

Go get a gym membership for less than the advertised price. You have the power. Tell them you’re shopping around for the best price; tell them you want the initial fee or membership fee waived or the monthly fee reduced. Say no to the first offer. Everyone in that gym pays a different price; there is no reason why yours should be the highest. We can negotiate everything from car prices to cosmetic surgery. The biggest barrier for most people – the reason why they won’t dicker with the gym, the salesman, or the boss – is that they don’t know how to ask for what they want. If you can get over that barrier, you can discover an important source of negotiating power.

Are You Fluent in Body Language?

John Curtis, .

He lied. Did you see it? He moved his eyes side-to-side. What a shifty liar. Oh look, she’s lying too; she’s fidgeting like crazy. I don’t know what they’re lying about because I wasn’t paying attention, but they are definitely lying.

We all like to think we are capable of knowing what people are saying even when they are not saying a word. We believe that body language can tell us whether someone is telling the truth, whether what we’ve said has struck a nerve, whether someone is being evasive. In truth, we can only tell others are lying with accuracy every time – if their nose starts to grow in front of us. Without such a cue, it’s a crapshoot.

Dirty Little Secret about Mediation

John Curtis, .

The promises of Mediation are myriad – It is faster, cheaper, allows for creative solutions, it can mend relationships as well as settle the legal issues, it allows the parties to expand the pie to fashion Win – Win Solutions, it can deliver meaningful solutions that an imperfect Court system can only try to simulate with money, it can be transformative for the parties – for their lives and for the dispute at hand.

What is Conflict Coaching?

John Curtis, .

The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” M. Scott Peck, psychiatrist and author.