Tips & Resources


  • Best Practices for Government Agencies: Guidelines for Using Collaborative Agreement-Seeking Processes:
  • Environment and Public Policy Section, Association for Conflict Resolution:
  • U.S. Institiute for Conflict Resolution:
  • National Roster of Environmental Dispute Resolution and Consensus Building Professionals:
  • Choosing an Appropriate Neutral (Guidance from the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution on selecting a neutral):

Tips for Reaching Agreement at Meetings

  • Talk with key participants about what they want to accomplish
  • Circulate a draft agenda for review incorporating members' interests
  • Ensure that everyone needed to achieve the meeting's goals participates
  • If there are interpersonal issues, address them they will not go away
  • Develop an agenda that focuses on essential issues
  • Set realistic goals
  • Make everyone feel welcome and valued
  • Set a tone that encourages productive participation
  • Use humor as appropriate to keep things light and encourage creativity
Follow up
  • Summarize the results
  • Get a "buy-in" for the summary from participants
  • Develop a follow-up plan that clearly identifies tasks to be accomplished, who is responsible for each task, and timelines.

Tips for Reaching Agreement through Negotiation

  • Treat others respectfully and professionally so that they are able to hear what you have to say.
  • Clearly articulate what you want/need.
  • Actively listen to what other parties say about what they need to reach agreement.
  • Ask questions to learn more about the other parties' interests.
  • Remember that others need an agreement that addresses their interests, just as you need one that addresses yours.
  • Use clear language when drafting agreements. Build contingency plans into your agreement to avoid future misunderstandings.