__ Agree that all of us are here to play and gain "win-win".

__ Agree to any side being able to take a "time out", one that is for the purpose of regrounding themselves emotionally or factually and for getting their thinking together so that they can be rational, fact-based, persuasive and coorpeative. 

__ Agree we will be pleasant and respectful to each other.

   __ No demands
   __ No anger

__ Drop "argumentativeness". 

   __ Not expressing any hostility, period.  None absolutely none, not even in the guise of
       being passionate.  And it is best if you study and hold the truism of "no fault."
   __ No mentioning of past wrongdoings (unless it is looking at a fact and applying logic as
       to what happened so that progress can be made - anything short of a purely problem
       solving intention is simply a primitive "make-wrong")
   __ No saying how awful someone is (as if you are the great moral judge of the universe -
       remember people only can know as much as they know - and they aren't "wrong" for
       that!  Read No  Blame )
   __ Never justify anything by pointing out that the other side was doing bad stuff.  You are
       not justified in behaving badly because of that and it does not justify a penalty.  You
       are not God, you are an equal participant seeking agreement.

__ Identify what is most important - Ask and also communicate yours.  Those will be what you use as 'bargaining chips', in a positive sense, to 'purchase' some of what you want that is most important by givng the other side some of what they want "in exchange" - and you can bet that "exchanging" is a better strategy than fighting and getting less of what you want.

__ Know that it is childish to think that you will or should get all of what you want.  If you violate this understanding you will take stands that will hurt how much you get.  (Classic examples exist in politics, where groups did not vote because they couldn't fully support all the views of the candidate that was on their side, because of one or two of their key issues were not ones he seemed in sync with.  The result was that the "other side" won, thereby causing them to be in a worse condition.  Now is that "unsmart" or is that "unsmart"?   Ala cutting off your nose to spite your face - not voting, in order to "spite" your candidate and then getting further away from what you want!)

__ Listen first.  You can't understand all the facts, reasoning, even opinions, unless you listen to them thoroughly and completely - and then let the other side know what you heard, repeating and correcting it to the point where they can say "yes, that is what I said."  (Like Stephen Covey's "Seek First To Understand", one of the Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People.  Often we want to be heard and validated, without allowing that for the other person - and we want to be first - a bit of a childish impatience with lack of perspective.)

__ Write it down.

   __ Written, cogent arguments have a much better chance of winning and creating


There is some education, that helps to get people (especially politicians) to the level of understanding where they will follow these rules - and get better results.

A key one, which might seem odd, is learning the 'truism" of No Fault, which will then help people to drop the ignorant practice of Blame, which then leads to dropping criticism of oneself and of others.

Learning not to play the stupid game of lose-lose and to avoid ethics problems.

Used in personal relationships, but also very applicable:  Rules For Fairness In Conflict Resolution.

This piece is largely based on the narrative from

Effectively Resolving Issues - Not Wasting Energy Nor Losing The Whole Enchilada - Read this and then decide how you will be in negotiations.

Other sites:

Ground Rules - What are they, why are they important, instituting them.

Four Guidelines For Successful Negotiation - Marriage Builders