3S Skills – Speak from the Thirdside
Now that you have seen and listened from the Third Side, it is time to speak from the Third Side. The Third Side is always present as a silent partner; in speaking from the Third Side we give it voice and draw attention to it. Speaking as a thirdsider can take many forms, all of which are necessary at different stages of a conflict.
A powerful form of speaking can be simply asking good questions of the parties involved. This alone serves to affirm the interests of the whole. Asking questions also creates an opportunity for the parties to reflect on their situation and choices which alone can sometimes transform the conflict. At times asking questions isn’t enough to spark this process and, as thirdsiders, we can speak up to get people’s attention.
Three practical ways to speak from the Third Side are: Interrupt Constructively, Affirm Interests of the Whole, & Support a Triple Win.
- “Hey!” Interrupt action-reaction pattern
- Deliver a positive No
- Set a few simple ground rules for the conversation
- Refrain from personal attacks
Affirm Interests of the Whole
- Don’t Reject Their Interests, Affirm the Whole
- Shift from Either-Or to Both-And
- Deliver a Positive No
Support a Triple Win
- Triple win: an inclusive outcome that fairly meets the essential needs of both sides and the surrounding community. A way that works for everyone.