fb pixel fb conversion Unlock Your Negotiating Potential with the Art of Improvisation | Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution | School of Law | Pepperdine University

Unlock Your Negotiating Potential with the Art of Improvisation

Faculty, Jeffrey Krivis, Brian Breiter, Mariam Zadeh and Susan Peahl

This highly entertaining course takes a dynamic view of the negotiation process by introducing improvisation techniques and theatre skills as an overlay to mediation. The students will develop unique skills experientially through exercises and feedback that will assist in formulating new ideas and insights into negotiations. The goal of the course is to improve your ability to influence and persuade when that moment occurs in a negotiation where it becomes necessary to help parties shift their positions in order to make the deal. This course blends negotiation theory with practice by introducing the perspective of professional actors to the mediation process.

What you will learn:

  • Processing the information from all around you while keeping a laser-like focus on your task at hand
  • Techniques for managing difficult situations that usually result in impasse
  • The ability to think on your feet
  • Leadership skills
  • Creating value for participants through the ability to adapt to the circumstances of the dispute
  • Rescue routines that assist in moving the settlement discussion forward
  • The ability to tell stories and use them to create movement in a negotiation

Jeffrey Krivis is the author of two books: Improvisational Negotiation: A Mediator's Stories of Conflict About Love, Money, Anger – and the Strategies that Resolved Them and How to Make Money as a Mediator (and Create Value for Everyone).  Krivis is past president of both the International Academy of Mediators and the Southern California Mediation Association. The Los Angeles Daily Journal legal newspaper has named him for many years as one of the top neutrals in the state, and he continues to be recognized in the Best Lawyers and Super Lawyer publications.

Brian Breiter is a trial attorney who lives and practices in Southern California. Originally from Miami Beach, Florida, Breiter received his legal education in Florida. While in law school he began taking improvisation classes to improve his abilities as a trial lawyer. After performing in a few improv shows he was signed by an agent. Since then Breiter has done over 30 union commercials as well as other acting roles on stage and television. He produced and stars in the award-winning improvised 1940s-style radio show, The Liquid Radio Players, and has performed at The Groundlings and ACME Comedy Theatres. He can be reached at brianbreiter.com.

Mariam Zadeh served as a trial lawyer for over a decade in California, New York, and New Jersey before becoming a full-time neutral. She obtained her LLM from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution in 2003 and in 2005, partnered with Jeffrey Krivis. Zadeh is a published author, teaches mediation and was recently featured as a Rising Star in the Southern California Super Lawyers magazine.

Susan Peahl is an award-winning actress and improviser, who has been performing and teaching improvisation professionally in New York, Los Angeles, nationally, and internationally for over 20 years. Alongside her career in stage, TV, and film, she has taught hundreds of improv workshops to Fortune 500 companies and organizations from a wide range of industries—which grew into corporate training in leadership, teamwork, communication, and conflict resolution skills, as well as employment law. She also serves as an executive coach and human resources best-practices consultant. Peahl brings her expertise in improv and human behavior to the collaborative curriculum of Advanced Mediation with Jeff Krivis.