People have very good reasons not to want to enter into dialogue with each other over conflict (with or without mediation). By this, I am not considering the rational choice that a dispute or conflict is “not suited” to mediation since the chances of a better outcome without amicable resolution are deemed higher. It is…

Mediators should speak up confidently for mediation. In this post I will consider some reasons why this might be difficult, and others why it is so necessary. It is not only that mediation is not sufficiently known. It can also be intimidating, and it is our job to explain it. Shortly after I had finished…

“If two people are in a room, there are actually six to consider: “What each person is; what each person thinks he or she is; and what each person thinks the other is.” So began a recent Guardian editorial on relations between Iran and the USA. This observation is attributed to the late wife of…

This is the first in a short series of how parties and advisers can best deploy the “assets” at their disposal in a mediation. Naturally, it is written from my perspective as a mediator, and so I recognise that it may look different when you are representing one side in a mediation, rather than in…

“Hi, I’m Rick. I’m your mediator for today. I can’t decide what happens in this dumb dispute or how you resolve issues. My job is just to help people who are incapable of resolving conflict, like yourselves, find areas that you can agree on. That means I get to control what appears in the messages,…

“All changed, changed utterly, A terrible beauty is born.” – W B Yeats, “Easter 1916” “Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness…

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 some mediations, I ask myself why people so resolutely retain their anger, their bitterness, or their hurt for such long periods of time. Often mediation takes place only after a conflict has escalated and hardened and been going on for a while, in some cases many years. If feelings of anger and bitterness persist…

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…