Georgia Di Salle competed with fellow fifth-year student, Erin Ritchie, at the Vienna International Arbitration Centre, Consensual Dispute Resolution Competition (IBA-VIAC CDRC). They are the first Deakin students to attend such a prestigious event, and one of only two Australian teams to compete. She writes on her experience in this competition and the value of competing in negotiations.

In July of this year, my good friend Erin Ritchie and myself travelled overseas, along with our coach Professor Jeffrey Waincymer, to Vienna, Austria to compete in the 4th edition of the International Bar Association, Vienna International Arbitral Centre Consensual Dispute Resolution Competition (IBA-VIAC CDRC). Although I had competed nationally before, it was the first time I had gone overseas to compete.

About six months earlier, we had applied as a team to represent Deakin University in this fast-growing and prestigious competition which sees 22 teams from universities around the world — including the US, the UK, Singapore, Georgia, Russia and many more — go head to head in a simulated negotiation.

Negotiation competitions are more than just about reaching a deal with the other side or winning the competition. In our day to day lives we are constantly negotiating — whether it be when we’re buying something at the shops, negotiating where to go to dinner with friends or deciding who will be the designated driver on a night out. In essence, knowing how to negotiate and being able to explore people’s interests in order to get a favourable outcome is critical to our lives. Negotiation competitions teach you how to think on your feet, preempt the other team’s next moves under tight time constraints, gain commercial awareness and other practical skills that are relevant to working in the legal industry.

There are plenty of opportunities to get involved in competitions, both internally at Deakin and externally in inter-varsity, national and international competitions and I encourage everyone to give a competition a go!