The art of negotiation

Action sponsored by CAM-CCBC encourages the improvement of the culture of this method for conflict resolution in the country

By Sérgio Siscaro

The first half of 2021 is being quite busy for the Brazilian community dedicated to alternative dispute solutions. In March, the regional phases of the fourth edition of Meeting Negociação (Negotiation Meeting) were held, covering the North and Northeast regions; Midwest; South; and Southeast. The national competition will take place between May 27 and 30. Focused on the dissemination of the practice of alternative methods of dispute resolution (ADRs), CAM-CCBC supports the competition, and is one of its sponsors.

The event, which takes place annually, is the Brazilian qualifiers for the International Negotiation Competition (INC), a gathering of professionals and student teams from several countries. The purpose is to encourage and improve the use of negotiation through training, learning sharing, and networking. In Brazil, the four regional qualifying competitions are aimed at bringing together the best teams for the national edition, which will choose the representatives of Brazil at INC.

The main challenge faced by the expansion of the negotiation practice in Brazil is the predominance of a litigation-oriented culture, in which one of the disputing parties will be the winner and the other the loser. In an attempt to change this scenario, Meeting Negociação seeks to disseminate the possibilities opened by the method, exploring its techniques and empowering professionals. During the event, participants receive guidance from experienced evaluators, mentors, and professionals who are experts in negotiation.

A history made by success

With experience in business management, and in arbitration, mediation and negotiation, the cofounder and organizer of Meeting Negociação, Camile Souza Costa, in 2017, decided to create the event, after participating at INC, as an evaluator. It was the first time that Brazil was represented in the competition. She currently belongs to the executive committee of the international competition, officially representing South America.

In Brazil, the first edition of the initiative took place in 2018 and brought together 17 teams, with 120 participants. In 2019, this number would rise to 36 teams, composed of 600 participants. As a novelty, it already brought the realization of regional qualifying events. In the following year (which was also the first competition held in a virtual way, due to the new coronavirus pandemic), the Virtual Meeting gathered 40 teams, involving 450 participants and 18 more international evaluators and mentors.

“In our first year, still without qualifying editions, the Brazilian participant in the INC came in eighth place, which demonstrated Brazil’s resourcefulness in negotiation. In the two following years, we were always among the top 15”, she adds. She also says that the event is complemented by master classes, which consist of technical lectures for the participants, made available on YouTube”. We intend that more Brazilians have access to the negotiation methodology, in a free and accessible way”.

Flexibility and empathy

On Souza Costa’s point of view, Brazilians tend to be more flexible in negotiations, which allows a correct reading of the situation being dealt with and, at the same time, allows the establishment of connections with the parties. Combined with knowledge of negotiation techniques, this factor allows a successful negotiation.

On negotiation, one point made by the event organizer is that the method does not necessarily refer to cases of conflict resolution (but can also be used in a preventive way). “There is always some potential disagreement between the parties, which needs to be reflected in the contracts in order to prevent potential future conflicts. We try to make it clear to the students participating in the Meeting that this possibility is also possible”.

Souza Costa evaluates, in a quite positive way, the participation of CAM-CCBC as a sponsor of Meeting Negociação. “The Center has supported the event since the beginning. This partnership is important, especially for all the resourcefulness that CAM-CCBC has, the excellence of the services it provides, and the way it positions itself, by signing partnerships with several pioneering initiatives in Brazil and abroad. The Center’s participation adds significant value to our event, both because of its reputation and its teams”, she concludes.