The CDRC negotiation and mediation competition, brought to you by the IBA and VIAC, begins tomorrow. Student teams from all over the world are arriving in Vienna, ready to put their skills to the test.
As knowledge partners for the competition, we at Mediator Academy wanted to share some insights about the competition and advice from people who have done it all before. If you're a competitor this year, a student interested in competing, or anyone else who wants to get involved, read on!
1. What is the CDRC and what makes it unique?
The Consensual Dispute Resolution Competition is the result of the great success of the Willem C Vis Arbitration Moot. The latter competition focuses on law and arbitration, however in the real world businesses use a wide range of ADR methods for resolving their disputes.
CDRC allows students to practice and experience these other essential processes. There are other mediation and negotiation competitions, but none like CDRC in Vienna.
Chief among the benefits for students is the expert feedback they will receive from over 60 of the top Mediation and Negotiation professionals around the world.
Furthermore, unlike other competitions like the ICC, competitors in previous years have praised the small size of the competition. With around 170 students and professionals taking part, students really get to know the other like-minded people and have an unparalleled opportunity to forge long-lasting relationships.
2. Practical Advice for the Competition
In terms of the competition itself, CDRC is unique in that the confidential information for each round is released only shortly before the mediation takes place. This really rewards those students who are able to think on their feet.
Another interesting feature of the competition is that each negotiation is mediated by fellow students whereas other competitions feature professional mediators.
This is a wonderful opportunity for those students to get into mediation and it also ensures that the more experienced professionals don't dominate the discussions.
However, it does have some impact on the negotiations. One of last year's competitors suggested preparing a strategy for mediation, as well as one for a simple negotiation. This is because you never know how involved the mediator will be, particularly in the early rounds.
Another piece of advice for the sessions is 'don't be too nice'. As a negotiator, don't be afraid to state your interests, even if you don't think they will go down well. Effective communication and creative thinking are what negotiations are all about.
Other (oft-repeated) words of wisdom were to always carry a pen and paper as well as business cards. Giving them out to the judges is considered good practice.
The one piece of advice that kept cropping up was for students to relax. The competition is more about the experience than the result, and you can learn as much from many of the experts over drinks as you can in the sessions.
A major attraction of CDRC is the plentiful social side and the people involved. There are daily social events, which provide an excellent opportunity to network and to learn.
The judges, organisers and experts are world-class and are really passionate about helping the students to learn and develop. Don't be afraid to reach out, ask questions and have fun. Let your hair down, have a few drinks. That said, do know your limits!
Last year, Mediator Academy was at the competition and interviewed many of the students about their experiences. You can watch those videos by clicking the link here:CDRC Vienna 2016
To all this year's competitors: best of luck from Mediator Academy.