Story telling and humor are among the essential tools in any mediator’s kit. Of course, when it comes to humor, mediators learn early in their career that the self-deprecating variety is usually the safest choice. This turns out to be quite good for me since in my life there is no shortage of material to…

My December blog was centred around a 15th Century occurrence. This month, I am in the final two years of the 14th Century. Last night, I went to see Shakespeare’s Richard II at the Barbican Theatre in London. The title role was played (quite brilliantly) by David Tennant – a piece of trivia for all…

I don’t mean to argue against the undeniable wisdom of inserting a dispute resolution clause in a commercial contract at the drafting stage. Conventional wisdom says settle your disputes as early as possible – like bubbles off the ocean floor, conflict expands as it rises to the surface and finally explodes into the air. What’s not…

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Tan Pan [谈判 means “Negotiation” in mandarin] Symposium held in Hong Kong from 1-2 November 2013. This was organized by the International Institute for Conflict Engagement and Resolution (IICER) of the Hong Kong Shue Yan University. This symposium saw the launch of the Tan Pan Journal and…

This week I spoke to a group of young legal practitioners here in New Zealand. I aimed low and went back to source. I suspect I got more of a kick out of it than anyone at the session. So, mediators, look away. There is nothing new here. But users, occasional or repeat, I hope these three…

I should state at the outset that I have a confession to make. Not quite yet but soon. As a long term practitioner and teacher of negotiation and mediation, it has occurred to me on many occasions that much of the conflict, trouble and strife that we experience, whether at an interpersonal level or international…

This is the first of a series of four blog postings written by Nadja Alexander , Michael Leathes , Tina Monberg and Irena Vanenkova. Achieving the promise of mediation in conflicts that threaten the stability of societies and economies is one of the most important challenges of our time. Inspiring progress has been made in…

“At these times”, said Dumbledore, indicating the stone basin, “I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one’s leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form.” (From Harry Potter, by JK Rowling,…

A human resources manager recently asked me for a general list of reasons why a mediation might not settle. While part of me wanted to question the idea of settlement as the goal of mediation (see Alan Gross’s excellent piece ‘Agreement Not the Gold Standard for Mediation – http://www.mediate.com/articles/GrossA3.cfm ) most of me thought this…

It is trite that one of key tasks of a mediator is to sort out what Patton, Stone and Heen in their book “Difficult Conversations” refer to as the “What Happened” conversation. Although they write about this and two other conversations in the context of negotiation, their insights are pertinent to mediators as well. One…