Alarms went off at 6 a.m. that Saturday morning. On the 12th of January, a four-headed delegation of our case team, consisting of Shani, David, Maarten and Ewout, gathered in Leuven, ready for departure. Destination: the Leibniz University of Hannover. From Leuven, it is a five-hour drive. Despite the early hour, we could not be more thrilled to engage!
It would be the first time competing in Hannover, as a direct result of participating at our first preparatory Mediation Moot at Bucerius Law School in Hamburg. We received an invitation from our German friends, wondering if we would be willing to exercise once more.
There was an unanimous spirit that we wanted to grab every chance to elevate our negotiation and mediation competences, so we decided to join. Above that, some members of our case team did not manage to make it to the Round in Hamburg. Even though some of us had to take exams the very next week, our eagerness cannot be suppressed.
As expectations were high, we met a few times to prepare all three cases thoroughly. We split the teams up in order to ensure that we all would be involved in as many cases as possible, including the ones we did in Hamburg. We wanted to give the best of ourselves, in order to be able to always set out the best team in any circumstance. Shani and David participated each in two cases, to get acquainted to their roles. Maarten and Ewout alternated to the affiliated role in their support.
Over the years, we have learned that to maximize the learning potential, a competitive yet constructive environment is the most fruitful practice. You can practice as much as you want with your peers via cases, video review, fishbowls… It is only once you are really out there in the arena, you learn how an exceptional mediation is supposed to be conducted and where improvements can be made, for each participant individually. It is only in those circumstances that one can maximize the learning curve.
One of the finest feedbacks we received, is how much an opening statement can influence the general impression towards the counterparty. The word-choice, tone and emotions must all be chosen consciously. Next to that, we also learned a few tricks in how to involve the mediator into your conversation (next to the ones stipulated in the Competition Rules). Eg. When in deadlock, using the mediator to diffuse the discrepancies and plainly ask her where she believes the misunderstanding occurred.
Of course, we are not going to disclose everything we have learned. If you are eager to know more, you can always ask us or... join the association. Thank you, Leibniz Universität Hannover for having us. Hopefully, we will meet again next year!