So many of us are relying on virtual and electronic platforms to keep connected with others during these challenging times, yet few of us know how to effectively disagree online, and there’s so much to disagree about!

In response, UC Law SF’ Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution (CNDR) hosted a special interactive workshop to focus on communication in the virtual world on February 17, 2021. Trainer Cordell Wesselink presented simple techniques that can help us keep relationships, and create openness to other ways of thinking.

Just like the fight or flight response to danger, many of us do the same with disagreements online, only without the humanizing context of real world interactions. Even though it’s virtual, there are real dangers in these disagreements: feelings get hurt, relationships get severed, positions get entrenched, incorrect ideas spread, and we become more siloed in our ways of thinking. There are other options! Takeaways from the workshop included understanding the importance of engaging rather than avoiding, and learning how to stay open minded while looking for connections.

Trainer: Cordell Wesselink, M.A.Cordell-Wesselink
Cordell is the Mediation Program Manager for Consortium for Children, which mediates throughout California between adoptive and birth families to help children maintain important relationships after adoption. The former ADR Programs Director at Community Boards, he co-created their Conflict Coaching program. Cordell has a background in counseling with the Marin Suicide Prevention Hotline, Gestalt Process from the Esalen Institute, and has conducted numerous coaching, mediation, and meeting facilitation sessions and trainings. He has a Master’s Degree in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding. Visit Cordell’s website: