“Half moons ago people were hollowed-out tablets of stone spaces were given them according to spaces they left . . . some spaces were filled with darkness no light would shine there . . .” – From “Afkasi” by Dr Selina Tusitala Marsh, former poet laureate of New Zealand Many of you will be familiar…

The question recently occurred to me whether we would have reached the kinds of online worlds of work we now have in many fields without the need to do so due to Covid-19. Would it have happened anyway, just more slowly and perhaps with different nuances? Would we be spending so much time in home…

In theory, we expect the parties’ opening statements to be swift, persuasive and forceful. At least, this is what I teach my students in ADR classes. In my mediation room, sadly, this occurs rather sporadically. The communication at the table is, unfortunately, not faultless. I guess every mediator has witnessed long, ambiguous monologue instead of…

What mediators do with words

‘The world is made, not found’ (W. Barnett Pearce) (1) I just spent an intensive weekend on Zoom with my students, helping them navigate their early steps into mediation practice. So much has changed. I have never met most of them face to face; we sit at home on our screens; there are no coffee…

Might we get better results in many of the tasks we undertake if we gave more thought to the way we do things before focusing too early on what to do?  As mediators we know that spending sufficient time on the process of problem solving and negotiation pays dividends in terms of the content. There are…

“The grandchildren put out a treble tongue, Law is the senses of the young” W H Auden, “Law like Love” “In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.” ― Czesław Miłosz (Polish-American poet, 1911-2004) A couple of months ago, our 15-year old granddaughter,…

“The greatest single antidote to violence is conversation, speaking our fears, listening to the fears of others, and in that sharing of vulnerabilities discovering the genesis of hope. . . Conversation – respectful, engaged, reciprocal, calling forth some of our greatest powers of empathy and understanding – is the moral form of a world governed…

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…

Mediation can be an intense experience for parties and their advisers. Often there is a lot on the line. In the substance there may be money, control, reputation, pride. In the process, there are challenges such as influencing other parties, getting the best deal possible, making well-informed judgment calls about risk, developing effective offers, and…

“All of humanity’s problems stem from [one’s] inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” – Blaise Pascal, Pensées We have done a lot of walking in recent weeks. As we approach the end of the extended “Level 4” of the Covid-19 lockdown in New Zealand, we look forward to only slightly lifted restrictions on…