Worksheets for Organizing: Tools for Specifically Planning Effective Action

 Here are lists of worksheets for groups that are organizing action on Representatives and Senators, or for other purposes.  These come from books by Roger Fisher of the Harvard Negotiation Project and various co-writers.  The worksheets can show some of the “how -to” stuff better than explanations.  The list illustrates some of what’s out there.  There is, of course, much overlap.  If you want to read about a particular approach in various books, however, the check out the overlaps.


Clearly, as you will see by the end, there’s a lot involved in “specifically what to do.”  The length of this post is not meant to be discouraging, but rather to show ways to move ahead quickly, to groups geared up for serious work in the long haul.  It’s for those who really want to win.  


I recommend starting with the book “Beyond Machiavelli,” but here I will start with “Getting Ready to Negotiate:  The Getting to Yes Workbook,” as it has two good, brief introductory worksheets.  These are:


Sudden Prep  (helps you learn where to start in a hurry)

Priority Prep  (I set this out as a checklist on a spreadsheet).


Other worksheets are set out under the “seven elements of negotiation” (in CAPITAL letters).  These are:


INTERESTS 1:    Identify the Relevant Parties 

INTERESTS 2:    Clarify the Interests   

INTERESTS 3:    Probe for Underlying Interests   

OPTIONS 1:    Create Options to Meet Interests    

OPTIONS 2:    Find Ways to Maximize Joint Gains    

ALTERNATIVES 1:    Think of My Alternatives to a Negotiated Agreement    

ALTERNATIVES 2:    Select and Improve My BATNA    

ALTERNATIVES 3:    Identify Alternatives Open to the Other Side    

ALTERNATIVES 4:    Estimate Their BATNA    

LEGITIMACY 1:    Use External Standards as a Sword and as a Shield    

LEGITIMACY 2:    Use the Fairness of the Process to Persuade    

LEGITIMACY 3:    Offer Them an Attractive way to Explain Their Decision    

COMMUNICATION 1:    Question My Assumptions and Identify Things to Listen For    

COMMUNICATION 2:    Reframe to Help Them Understand    

RELATIONSHIP 1:    Separate People Issues from substantive Issues    

RELATIONSHIP 2:    Prepare to Build a Good Working Relationship    

COMMITMENT 1:    Identify the Issues to Be Included in the Agreement   

COMMITMENT 2:    Plan the Steps to Agreement    


Here is the list of charts for Beyond Machiavelli, with page numbers.  Some are filled out as informational charts (ie. Syrian Israeli).  


Partisan Perceptions  (Syrian Israeli)     26 2 col

Putting Ourselves in Their Shoes  (Cuban Missile)    30 2 col

Three Positions for Observing a Conflict    33 1 col

Positions & Interests (Sikh Hindu)    40 2 col

Message Analysis    45 2 col

Contrasting Message Intended with Message Sent (US Vietnam)    46 3 col

Currently Perceived Choice of a Decisionmaker    51 2 col

Consequences Likely to Be Important ot a Decisionmaker    53 1 col

9  Currently Perceived Choice  (Saddam Hussein)    55 2 col

10  Target Future Choice of a Decisionmaker    58 2 col

11  Currently Perceived Choice (Cyprus)    60 2 col

12  Currently Perceived Choice (Cyprus)    61 2 col

13  Target Future Choice  (Cyprus)    62 2 col

14  Target Future Choice    (Cyprus)    63 2 col

15  Currently Perceived Choice (Serb)    65 2 col

16  A Four-Quadrant Analysis for Problem-Solving    69 4 col

17   A Four-Quadrant Analysis   (South Africa    70 4 col

18  Seven Elements of a Conflict Situation    75 1 col

19  An Atlas of Approaches    83 2 col

20  Atlas of Approaches  (Russia)    84 1 col

21  Implicit Constraints on Meetings and How to Loosen Them    86 2 col

22  Generate Fresh Ideas through Brainstorming    88 1 col

23  Some Guidelines for Brainstorming    89 1 col

24  Draft Invitation to a Devising Session    91 1 col

25  Putting an Idea into Action    103 1 col

26  Target Future Choice of a Decisionmaker    104 2 col

27  Some Ethical Criteria to Consider Before Making a Proposal    113 1 col

28  How a Future Decision Cold Be Announced  (Iran/US)    116 1 col

29  How a Future Decision Cold Be Announced  (Iran/US)    117 1 col

30  Political Constraints on Choice  (NAFTA)    118 2 col

31  Some Third Party Roles for Coping with a Conflict    124 3 col

32  Currently Perceived Choice  (Concession-Hunting Mediator)    127 2 col

33  Currently Perceived Choice  (One Text)    128 2 col

34  Currently Perceived Choice  (End of One Text)    130 2 col

35  Two Ways of Generating a Draft Proposal    131 2 col

36  Currently Perceived Choice  (Beyond Machiavelli Reader)    141 2  col



Bold items are blank workbook charts

underlined items are informational and may be typed with fewer columns


The same applies below to charts from Coping with International Conflict.  This seems to be a textbook version of the same kind of material, and is more comprehensive.  Numbers on the left border (ie. 4.1) refer to chapters (ie. chapter 4).


4.1,  Assumptions/Data Tool p. 49 

4.2   Russia US example

4.3  Partisan Perception toolSyrian/Israeli p. 52  example 

4.4  Partisan Perception tool(Two-party Example p. 53  example 

4.5  Cuban Missile Crisis example p. 54

4.6  Emotions and Motives Tool, p. 58 

4.7  UK Argentina example p. 59

4.8  UK Mexico example

4.9  Checklist of some frequent differences of interest p. 64 

4-10  Positions and Interests tool p. 65 

4.11  Golan Heights example

5.1  Message to the other side p. 73 

5.2  Message tool p. 76 

5.3  Northern Ireland example

5.4  Noriega Panama example

5.5  Currently Perceived Choice Tool p. 81 

5.6  CPC Tool General Example p. 82 

Categories of Consequences for a Decision-Maker p. 83 

5.7  CPC tool Israel/?West Bank

Potential Agreements of Differing Strengths p. 131  (adjectives) 

9.1  Standard Moves of Two Negotiating Strategies (Hard/Soft) p. 136 

9.2  Illustrative Standard Moves of Three Negotiating Games (Friendly, Hard,  Congruent) p. 139 

9.3  What Negotiating Game Should We Play P. 143 

9.4  Game Analysis Tool p. 144 

9.5  Working Assumptions about the Game Being Played p. 145 

l0.1  Is there a Need for Inventing p. 150

l0.2  Circle Chart  (4 quadrant analysis) p. 154 

l1.1  Possible Problems  (Victory, Power, Peace) p. 162 

l1.2  Purpose Tool  p. 164 

l1.3  Purpose Tool  Cuban Missile Crisis

l1.4  Tool on Educational Ends and Means p. 172 

l1.5  German example p. 173

l1.6  German example p. 174

l3.1  Effectiveness of Inflicted Pain p. 201 

l3.2  Vietnam example p. 202 

l3.3  Costs and Benefits Circle Vietnam Example  p. 203

l3.3  Costs and Benefits Circle   pp. 203-206 

l4.1  Elements of First Order Compliance p. 227 1 or 

l4.2  Elements of Second Order Compliance p. 229 1 or 

l5.1  Questions That May Help Illuminate our Own Moral Criteria p. 240 

l5.2  Tool on Policy p. 250 

l6.1  Point of Choice Tool, p. 256 

l6.2  Point of Choice Tool, Northern Ireland, p. 257

l7.1  Currently Perceived Choice Tool  Jerusalem p. 261 

l7.2  Currently Perceived Choice Tool  Jerusalem p. 262

l7.3  Target Future Choice Tool  Jerusalem p. 263

l7.4  Currently Perceived Choice Tool  Jerusalem p. 264

l7.5  Future Target Choice Tool  (general example) p. 270 

l7.6  Posible Iranian Statement p. 272

l7.7  Posible U.S. Statement p. 273

l7.8  Political Restraints on Their Choice p. 274 

l7.9  Political Restraints on Their Choice Israel PLO p. 275-6


Here is a list of 63 action ideas from International Mediation.  I set them out as a yes/no checklist on a spreadsheet.  Each has explanations in the book.  Note that an organizer is a facilitator of negotiation, though not quite like a mediator.  These are especially useful for a deeper view, or after they say “no.”



 1 How about keeping a working journal?    (13) 


A.  Coping with problems of emotions and motivation.   

  2 How about discussing a CHART of the problem with each party?    (29)  

  3 How about a session for “letting off steam”?    (29) 

  4 How about giving the parties a joint task?    (31) 

  5 How about building on some common professional training (such as that of military officers or economists)? (32) 

  6 How about having them work on plans that make an agreed future look more attractive and credible?    (32) 

  7 How about rewarding constructive work with personal credit?    (33) 

  8 How about stimulating symbolic gestures of good feelings?    (33) 

B.  Coping with problems of perception.   

  9 How about preparing and discussing a CHART of partisan perceptions?    (34) 

  10 How about preparing and discussing some BALANCE SHEETS of each party’s presently perceived choice? (38) 

  11 How about helping the parties test their expectations against the reality of opposing interest?    (42) 

  12 Might perceptions be helped by informal joint discussion?    (43) 

  13 Might personal accounts help?    (44) 

    “Help me with the facts”

    “What’s important?”

    “What’s wrong now?”

    “Should we divide up?”

    “Can this be a joint task?”

C.  Coping with problems of communication.   

  14 How about excluding the public audiences?    (47)  

  15 Might it help to encourage better listening?    (49) 

  16 How about writing what they’re saying and what they’re hearing?    (50) 

  17 Would it help to ask the parties to acknowledge communication received?    (56) 

  18 Would it help communication to have a ground -rule against attributing motives or intentions?    (56) 

  19 How about less communication between the parties?    (57) 


A.  For coping with unawareness of the importance of inventing.   

  20 How about discussing with the parties a CHART contrasting existing options with better ones?    (68) 

  21 How about LISTING the substantive options currently on the table?    (69) 

  22 How about discussing specific options as an answer to the problem of the slippery slope?    (69) 

B.  For coping with constraints on the inventing process.   

  23 How about organizing a brainstorming session?    (71) 








    A rapporteur?

  24 How about brainstorming with the parties separately?    (76) 

  25 How about using outside inventors?    (76) 

  26 How about doing some private inventing yourself?    (77) 

C.  For stimulating invention of more and better options.   

  27 How about focusing on divergent interests of the parties?    (78) 

   Are there different assessments of the future?

  28 How about looking through the eyes of different disciplines?    (82) 

  29 How about looking for solutions that would be principled, durable, and compliance-prone?    (84) 

  30 How about making existing options more operational?    (86) 

  31 How about changing the scope of a proposed agreement?    (88) 

  32 How about inventing procedural solutions to substantive problems?    (89) 

  33 How about inventing agreements of different strengths?    (89) 

  34 How about multiplying options through the use of the CIRCLE CHART?    (90) 

  35 How about looking at the substantive choice each party would face?    (93) 


A.  For making the procedural problems explicit.   

  36 How about using a simple analogy?    (110) 

  37 How about jointly writing out the operating assumptions of the existing negotiating process?    (112) 

B.  For loosening the parties from their negotiating positions.   

  38 How about avoiding steps that will tend to commit them more deeply?    (113) 

  39 How about separating the parties interests from their positions?    (114) 

  40 How about making present positions irrelevant to the process?    (116) 

C.  For changing the game that the parties are playing.     

 (a)  So far as the players and their roles are concerned.  

  41 How about adding a party to the negotiating process?    (117) 

  42 How about going ahead with fewer parties?    (118) 

  43 How about changing the mediator’s role (or the mediator)?    (119) 

  44 How about moving up or down the bureaucratic hierarchy?    (121) 

 (b)  So far as the goals of the game are concerned.  

  45 How about helping each side try to strengthen the moderate tendencies of the other? (123) 

  46 How about pursuing some new goals?    (123) 

 (c)  So far as the standard moves are concerned.  

  47 How about insisting upon principled negotiations?    (124) 

  48 How about asking for contingent offers?    (125)

  59 How about leaving positions intact while inventing?    (126)

  50 How about working with a single negotiating text?    (126)

  51 How about some middle-level drafting of alternative clauses?    (130)

D.  For changing the choices faced by each party.     

 (a)  So far as the decision itself is concerned.  

  52 How about offering them a “yesable proposition?”    (132)

  53 How about making the decision smaller?    (134)

  54 How about reducing the number of decisions required?    (134)

 (b)  So far as the balance sheet of pros and cons is concerned.  

  55 How about changing the domestic political costs and benefits?    (135)

  56 How about making proposed promises more credible?    (137)

  57 How about substituting offers for threats?    (139)

  58 How about making a choice a fading opportunity?    (141)

 (c)  So far as the manner in which the decision is asked for.  

  59 How about starting low on the asking ladder?    (141)

  60 How about making suggestions privately first?    (143)

  61 How about changing the perceived ownership of the idea?    (143)

  62 How about using CHECK LISTS to stimulate thinking?    (144)

  63 How about jotting down your own ideas?       (144)


Here are other charts from International Mediation:


Chart 1: RELATING THEORY TO PRACTICE:  Whose job is it to use theory to produce better answers?    (3) 

Chart 2: CIRCLE CHART:  The Four Basic Steps in Applying Theory to Practice    (5) 


Chart 4: THE NEGOTIATING PROBLEM DIVIDED INTO THREE STRANDS:  People, Substance and Process      (9) 

Chart 5: THE HUMAN DIMENSION:  Is there a problem with the people?    (18) 



Chart 8: PRESENTLY PERCEIVED CHOICE:  Of President Sadat of Egypt    (40) 

Chart 9: PRESENTLY PERCEIVED CHOICE:  Of Prime Minister Begin of Israel    (41) 

Chart 10: CROSS-CONFLICT COMMUNICATION:  Sending and Receiving    (53) 

Chart 11: WHAT’S THE MESSAGE:  Standard Form    (54) 

Chart 12: WHAT’S THE MESSAGE:  Illustrative example;  U.S. and North Vietnam, say, 1965    (55) 

Chart 13: THE SUBSTANTIVE DIMENSION:  Is there a need for inventing?    (63) 

Chart 14: BRAINSTORMING:  The case for permitting only positive feedback    (75) 

Chart 15: LOOKING BEHIND OPPOSING POSITIONS:  For interests that may be reconcilable    (81) 

Chart 16: HOW THE CHOICE LOOKS:  To the Greek Government    (95) 

Chart 17: THE NEGOTIATING PROCESS:  Is there a problem?    (101) 



Chart 20: EACH PARTY’S PRESENTLY PERCEIVED CHOICE:  General Example    (133)  


There are a few more charts in other books by Fisher et al., including:


International Conflict for Beginners, the MAP chart in chapter five (p. 48) is a great overall chart.  See the same info as an outline (Demand/Offer/Costs; Who/What/When/Why) in Beyond Machiavelli, ch. 3.  See the chapter “Making Threats is Not Enough” and chart here:  

http://www.pon.harvard.edu/hnp/writing/books/international3.pdf  Fisher’s book Dear Israelis, Dear Arabs: A Working Approach to Peace, is a sort of companion volume to International conflict for Beginners.  Though dated,  this book illustrates in detail a variety of specific “yesable propositions.”  See http://www.pon.harvard.edu/hnp/theory/tools/yesable.shtml and follow the link “concept excercises” there to learn more about this key method.  See also Beyond Machiavelli pp. 96-98.


Getting Together, (I make a yes/no checklist (on a spreadsheet) from the questions in “How Good is Our Relationship,” p. 178.)


Getting Past No (William Ury), (has simple Preparation Worksheet in appendix, p. 173).  See also his The Third Side (originally Getting to Peace) at http://www.thirdside.org/resources.cfm?language=English.  Note however that he does not include the role of organizer as a facilator of negotiation between decision makers and “the people.”


Another useful introduction for using these materials together can be found at:

http://www.pon.harvard.edu/hnp/theory/tools/tools.shtml.  This page includes links to Currently Perceived Choice charts (blank and filled out examples) and “the Seven Elements of Negotiation” which serves as the structure for Getting Ready to Negotiate [workbook].  It also gives page numbers for various key Fisher books related to this discussion.


Well, I thought I should get some of this material out there into the discussion.  Let’s make it happen.

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