Toby Guerin’s Negotiation Exercise

From TFOI Toby Guerin:

I thought that I would share an exercise which we posted this week through the Workplace Mediation Service at University of Maryland, Baltimore.  It can be easily adapted for classes and other environments.

Several years ago Andrea Schneider and others wrote an article, “Cooking Up a Deal: Negotiation Recipes for Success.”  Many of us are looking to engage students and others in more creative ways at this time.  The adapted exercise is a creating a “Conflict Management Cake.”  We have invited employees to write and submit their own recipes.  We will post a sample of them on our website in May.

My classes have all concluded or I would have added this to my assignments.  My recipe is listed below.  I am always happy to get new recipes so feel free to send me your favorite conflict management cake recipe as well!

Toby’s Conflict Management Cake Recipe


  • 4 cups Patience
  • 3 T Forgiveness (add more to desired taste)
  • 3 cups Listening
  • 2 tsp Accommodating
  • 3 cups Self-awareness
  • 2 tsp Collaborating
  • 4 cups Compassion
  • Dash Apology
  • 1 cup Humor


Preheat oven.

Step 1:  In one large bowl combine patience, listening, and self-awareness.  Stir until evenly combined.

Step 2:  In a second bowl whisk together compassion, humor, and forgiveness.  The ingredients should be just combined and not overworked.

Step 3:  Fold the ingredients from the second bowl into the first until they reach an even consistency.

Step 4:  Add accommodating, collaborating, and apology.  Stir until combined.  Walk away and let the ingredients sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.

Pour combined mix into a round cake pan and bake for, you guessed it, 19 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool and enjoy!

Toby Treem Guerin
Associate Director
Center for Dispute Resolution
Maryland Carey Law