Bloomberg (not my usual reading fodder, I confess) carried an interesting piece a couple of months ago, entitled “Meet the Real Force Behind the Brexit Talks”. Yes, it was about Brexit (yawn) but it was about an unseen side of the negotiations. Opening with the line “In every negotiation the most important work is done…

In recent years, Vietnam has boosted its legal framework for commercial mediation. The story began with the promulgation of the new Civil Procedure Code 2015 whose Chapter 33 serves as the legal basis for the recognition of out-of-court mediated settlement agreements. Then, the Government issued Decree no. 22/2017/ND-CP on Commercial Mediation (“Decree 22”) detailing and…

Here in Singapore, along with the rest of the world, we await the Trump-Kim Summit scheduled for Tuesday 12 June. What can we expect? While we may have learned to expect the unexpected from these two leaders, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un, recent media reports have highlighted one apparently predictable feature of Trump’s negotiation approach….

One way of describing mediation is as a process that seeks to convert what is apparently a zero or negative sum game into a positive-sum game. This is to use the language of game theory, which analyses strategies that rational players take to secure the best outcomes in interactive, interdependent ‘games’; where the outcome for…

You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone. Al Capone This popular quote attributed to the famous US mobster announce the use of force and other dirty tricks in negotiation. I do not especially like it. I would relativise it by the following…

In 1933 Alfred Korzybski wrote: “A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness.” More recently (2006), James Robertson wrote (to reference him once again, this time from ‘The Testament of Gideon Mack’): “We trust in maps because when we…

As the year comes to an end, I am expanding upon a story to which I referred in a previous blog, in the hope that it may provide a couple of useful reminders of what we do as mediators. I had eaten a chicken curry rather hastily at the hotel where I had been mediating…

James Robertson’s novel ‘To be continued…’ introduces us to a character who goes by the name of Mungo Forth Mungo. Mungo is somewhat far fetched, not least because he is a talking toad. In this capacity he engages in many thoughtful and reflective conversations with the main character in the book – Murray Findhorn Elder…