International Authority on Negotiation and Mediation
The razor-sharp Roar Thun Waegger is a trailblazer in more ways than one. A leading Advocate, he took the road less traveled with Alternative Dispute Resolution and left his prestigious job to establish the Waegger Negotiation Institute in Oslo, Norway, in 2017.
“My mantra is that negotiation is all around us, we all negotiate every day in many situations. The awareness of all these small and large negotiations are among the topics I talk about in my workshops, webinars, and lectures,” he begins.
Born and raised in Scandinavia, Roar’s experiential learning came from the people he met on his life journey. “From an inspirational conductor in the Kings Guards Marching Band during my military service to an American football coach I had during my time as an exchange student in the USA, followed by many inspirational professionals I have met in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution – together, they inspired me to follow my passion, to have determination towards my goals and to establish and run my own company,” he recalls.
Roar is a Harvard’s PON, and Pepperdine Straus’ Institute trained negotiator, mediator, and conflict resolution specialist. He is also a Singapore International Mediation Institute (SIMI) Accredited civil/commercial mediator, a certified UK civil/commercial mediator, and a certified mediator by the Norwegian Bar Association.
Through the medium of Waegger Negotiation Institute, he aims to help customers handle the negotiation, their conflict, or mediation as their trusted advisor so that they can concentrate on their core activities, reduce high personal and financial costs in the event of a conflict, and build strong business relationships.
“WNI primarily offers tailored negotiation training programs for businesses and organizations. It’s paramount for us to be dynamic; combining short lectures, interactive exercises, skills-based simulations, and structured reflections and debriefs. In addition, we offer consulting and sparring, lectures, and keynotes,” he adds.
Roar’s approach to negotiations using the concept of “The Power of Nice” was created by Ron Shapiro, an American negotiation expert, author, and sports agent. This concept has been instrumental to his global success. Decoding it, he says, “I believe in collaboration to obtain desired results, and how you get them is just as important. Many negotiators play hardball or act like a cowboy by assuming the winner-take-all attitude. They do that at risk of losing out on future opportunities. Life and business are a game of Giving and Taking, and in today’s polarized world and atmosphere, we risk losing the human touch that formed the basis for many long-standing solutions. I would call this the power of nice, which is the basis for the philosophy of my work.”
All too often, so-called icons or ideals appear in the business world, in different industries, in trade unions, and at least in the political world as successful and rich, and they are known for their harsh approach to crushing their ‘enemies’ and leaving them with nothing. This method, more times than not, does not work in the long run, according to Roar.
It is three domains in every negotiation; the working relationship with the other(s), the communication process, and the substance of the matter one negotiates. By raising higher awareness of and adding tools and advice for becoming better communicators, you can develop your skills as a better negotiator, he suggests. It’s the important, but so difficult skill of active listening, he said is the most crucial skill to develop.
As someone who is in the business of inspiring people with his unmatched legal acumen and skill, where does Roar himself find inspiration? “My inspiration has come from both people close to me and people I do not know but consider role models. I have met many people in the alternative dispute resolution industry who have the mindset of unselfishness in helping others to develop. By knowing the content, of course, but also how to use this knowledge and their skills to teach others to use them. I aspire to become like them. I desire to work with many kinds of people, from many different areas of business, and many different places in the world, to show that Humanity is Key.”
Roar is passionate about working with customers to help them create better solutions than they thought possible. He’s equally passionate about teaching! A well-known professional in Scandinavia, he works a lot with law and business students around the world in negotiation and mediation competitions and is passionate about creating their interest and enthusiasm for the field of alternative dispute resolution.
Any journey off the beaten track is never without its share of challenges. How did Roar face his, we ask him. “My business journey has faced all specters of feelings and experiences, luck, and hard work. I have been lucky to have great support from my family, from the idea of starting a business to quitting my job as a lawyer and starting this company. I have been lucky to have support from colleagues and networks that knew me and my skills and knowledge and saw how they could benefit from using me. And, it has been a lot of hard work – negotiation is my core business, but running a business also includes learning a lot of new skills and adding the right partners in sales, marketing, etc.”
Like everything else that he does, it didn’t take Roar long to learn the ropes of being a good entrepreneur. Today, he has created a well-running business that is rare. So many doubted his ability to create a business out of advising and training others in negotiation and mediation, and today to receive recognition and kind words from them are among the best ‘awards’ he has received.
Yet, he considers something else his biggest achievement – raising three young adults, together with his wife and their families. They are different yet similar, and each of them has its uniqueness, skills, and desires. To develop them to become good human beings has been a deeply gratifying personal achievement for Roar.
A pioneer and a leader all in one, he embodies leadership that has the courage to transform lives, communities, and cultures. “Leadership cannot be reduced to strategy and technique. A leader should know how to collaborate with others and master communication skills well. When a leader uses the combination to appeal to people’s rational minds, to gain support with logic and data, and inspires them to appeal to their emotions, so others feel excited about the leader’s vision, goals, and plans, then more will feel the purpose of the work,” says the charismatic Roar Thun Waegger with decades of insight.