Paul Watzlawick’s well-known axiom “you cannot not communicate” has taken on a new relevance in recent months. It means that silence and other non-verbal behaviour are just as much a form of communication as what people say. We cannot switch the communication channel off, at least not if it is analogue – meaning continuous. Take…

Going online is an opportunity to rethink old ways and try out new ones. For mediators, trainers, coaches, and teachers. Professionally the crisis can be an opportunity. While of course also a threat, with loss of business and income in many sectors, including mediation, facilitation and coaching. The competition for work may become tougher. This…

I have been thinking about some aspects of listening recently. For quite a long while I have been listening to myself, trying to work out where I stand on the skill of listening, its use and its limits professionally in mediation, conflict management, and coaching, and privately, and also on my own needs to be…

Mediation and conflict management often require the design of complex processes that might involve different interventions with different parties or stakeholders over considerable time. Consider mediation in the planning stages of public projects or mediation and facilitation involving communities involved in claims for compensation against governments or companies. Or consider mediation inside organisations, in which…

Two days ago I attended a birthday party – one of Germany’s most active consumer conciliation bodies celebrated its ten-year anniversary. There was an interesting panel discussion on the role of consumer conciliation in Germany and in Europe, particularly given that the European Union has attempted to promote this service through its DIRECTIVE 2013/11/EU on…

A few days ago my daughter asked me a question that challenged and inspired me, and that has me thinking still. Often, we say it is little children who catch us out with their questions. But my two adult children seem to manage to test my assumptions, ideas and actions more and more the older…

People have very good reasons not to want to enter into dialogue with each other over conflict (with or without mediation). By this, I am not considering the rational choice that a dispute or conflict is “not suited” to mediation since the chances of a better outcome without amicable resolution are deemed higher. It is…

Mediators should speak up confidently for mediation. In this post I will consider some reasons why this might be difficult, and others why it is so necessary. It is not only that mediation is not sufficiently known. It can also be intimidating, and it is our job to explain it. Shortly after I had finished…