Explanation of Methods

Suzanne Ghais

Program Manager at CDR Associates, Boulder, Colorado

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

I used to feel like I sort of had to be a magician and lately I've come to see that it can help to explain what I'm doing, between that state and federal agency. At the beginning of it or maybe it was before-hand, I said rather than telling, you know, just the basic position and interest stuff, which I know they don't look fondly upon it at ICR, but it can be profoundly powerful, it can be. It's not the only thing that we need to have in our tool bag, but it is one very important thing. I said, you know I have found, or we as a field have found that if you simply state what outcome you want, you're going to end up locking horns.

Whereas if you describe what is the really underlying important thing to you, then we can usually find multiple ways of meeting that and some way that will work for both. So, it's sort of like 15-second training segments or sometimes an hour training. Sometimes it's worth it to spend an hour on training for say, a year-long negotiation with multiple stakeholders. So trying to be more explicit about my methods, about what I'm doing and why I'm doing what I'm doing.

I think that helps people work with me a little bit better. And if professionals are working on me, I like to think about what they think too. I go to an osteopath sometimes and they kind of do their thing. I can either lie their silent or I can say, "hmm, what are you doing right now", and get a little explanation. It's interesting and it helps to give me clues about what I can do, so that I don't replicate the problems that I've had.