Offers in mediation are too often approached with all the coyness of gauche teenagers at a school dance (acknowledging that this metaphor may reveal too much about my own youth!). It need not be like this. Here are some thoughts to ease the pain. Going first is not weakness. All mediations require offers to be…

One of the great joys of being part of the world-wide mediation community is the  opportunity to learn and keep learning from professionals whose practice is far from homogeneous. The generosity in sharing thoughts, ideas and even intellectual property is remarkable. Despite this, there is still a lot about the practice of mediation that is…

  The Daily Blogpost from the Harvard Program on Negotiation (PON) is always a great way to start the day. A quick read, it often turns something that I have been processing at the back of my mind into a more solid idea I can inspect and explore. This week, a particularly relevant post about…

On the first day of this year the international mediation community lost a wonderful friend and colleague. The memorial page established by his family shows just how wide and deep the affection reaches. He provided memorable experiences to so many of us. And whilst we both certainly remember (and enjoyed) his joie de vivre, the…

The Program on Negotiation at Harvard (PON) sends to subscribers a daily blogpost of interesting negotiation thoughts and analyses. It regularly visits the negotiation styles of world leaders with the idea that ‘by studying the negotiation styles of famous leaders, we can identify what to emulate and what to abandon’. Unsurprisingly it has shone a…

Negotiators in a mediation

It’s been a while since I wrote about practical tips for mediators. Yet when I ask people what they want from training or teaching the commonest answer is… practical tips. I offer some below on working with parties who take cold feet just as resolution is approaching. I was recently asked to speak with lawyers…

I am not really one for elevator pitches. But I did hear one the other day about creating impact in a very short space of time, and I was struck by its relevance to mediation. Essentially, the message was that the people we meet make up their minds about us based on two key criteria,…

Given the confidential nature of mediation, it is a rare set of circumstances that allow us to catch a glimpse into the mediator’s craft. The current review of the professional standards governing Australia’s accredited mediators provides one such opportunity, The review seeks, to the extent permissible, to uncover what practitioners are actually doing, including the…

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…

I wrote this piece for Strathclyde Mediation Clinic after a series of conversations with new and learner mediators. Some surprised me with their passivity in the face of parties’ lack of knowledge or understanding. After some probing I learned that many new mediators recognise the problem but believe the model they were taught prohibits them…