Conflict, as a topic, is conducive to stories. Conflict forms the heart of a good novel; it gives color and character to an otherwise placid movie; it even features heavily in the lyrics to our favorite songs. Similarly, the ways we handle conflict in our lives or work constitute narratives—sometimes, those narratives tell of dramatic breakthroughs or historic deals; other narratives describe quieter moments of revelation or subtle shifts in attitude or stance.
In seeking a medium for collecting and sharing some of these stories, we were motivated by questions about conflict, our ways of handling conflict, and our field of negotiation and conflict management: What does it mean to be a “practitioner” of this work? In what ways are we all “practitioners,” regardless of our profession or background? What are the moments and contexts in which this work feels resonant and impactful? What are the moments in which it feels futile, and why? And, most importantly, what can we learn from sharing our stories with one another? Is there something to be gained—or gleaned—by comparing notes? By sitting down, so to speak, with someone else who might be engaging with the same skills and concepts, but do so a world away from our own? Is there really as much space between our separate worlds as we think?
“The Listening Room,” a new podcast from HNMCP, seeks to carve out a space to explore these questions. In each episode, we focus on a theme, and feature interviews with several individuals whose experiences in their lives or work tell a story of negotiation, mediation, conflict management, dialogue, or group decisionmaking related to that theme. This podcast grows out of our continued excitement to learn more about our field. It also reflects our deep belief that by sharing with one another the novels, movies, and hit song lyrics that tell our own life stories, we can discover vast reservoirs of wisdom and shared understanding about handling conflict.
Together with a special group of first-year students in HLS Negotiators, we are thrilled to present this new project, and we also seek your engagement and feedback. In each episode we invite listeners to record their own voice memos and send them to us; we would also love to read your thoughts—please use our contact form to send us your thoughts. We hope that this podcast provokes your own reflections and questions, and we invite you to share those with us. Thank you for listening!
Sara & Deanna