Geoff Sharp’s recent blog posting, Biased is better and Partiality is In, challenges the conventional mediation wisdom that views impartiality and neutrality as hallmarks of the mediation process. Here impartiality refers to a disinterestedness in the outcome of the dispute and the absence of real and perceived conflicts of interest in relation to the matter….

To paraphrase Jane Austen, it is a truth universally acknowledged that mediation is confidential. Go on any training course, listen to any mediator’s opening speech, and the secrecy/privacy of the process will be affirmed and reaffirmed. In the commercial mediation arena, and these days most other practice areas, you will also sign a contractual undertaking…

Mediators often talk about the power of framing their own language and reframing the language of parties and others in mediation settings. For example, mediators may frame their comments in neutral, constructive and future-focused language. They may reframe party statements to detoxify offensive or destructive language or to create a shift from the negative to…

The Problem with Conventional Wisdom in Negotiation  Conventional wisdom in negotiation provides specific responses to stimuli that are categorized as competitive or cooperative behavior. Depending on the identity of the behavior, the negotiator is taught to distribute a set value through a series of moves and concessions, or create value through ideas and transformative behavior….

Professions (and hence professionals) are both blessed and cursed with high expectations. The upside is clear: the public expects high standards, expertise and care, and in return is prepared to pay handsomely. The downside typically involves disciplinary sanctions against those not measuring up to those standards, although issues of probity rather than competence tend to…