Every now and again something happens to cause me to pause and think – or re-think. Recently, I had that experience at a small ruined castle in the heart of Scotland, near a lovely country town called Edzell. Edzell Castle, visited by, among others, Mary Queen of Scots and her son, King James VI of…

Erisology has been defined as the study of disagreement – where people are no closer to understanding each other at the end of an exchange than they were at the beginning. Sound familiar? Eris was the Greek goddess of discord.  The term was been coined by John Nerst, a blogger in Sweden, who is interested in…

For readers who are new, the “Neuro-Linguist’s Toolbox” series is an ongoing series focused on using Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) in our practice of amicable dispute resolution. The first section focused on rapport (the first of which can be found here). The second section focuses on matters of self-care and personal improvement for mediators (the first…

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,…

For readers who are new, the “Neuro-Linguist’s Toolbox” series is an ongoing series focused on using Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) in our practice of amicable dispute resolution. The first section focused on rapport (the first of which can be found here). The second section focuses on matters of self-care and personal improvement for mediators (the first…

Since so much communication at work and home has gone online through the Covid lockdowns we have been witnessing a whole new vocabulary of everyday life. As much of this communication is likely to stay online, it pays to take a critical look at the vocabulary we are using. It is fairly straightforward to find…

“Managing a Client’s expectations and advising them on a course of action turned out to be far more difficult than negotiating with the other Party.” So wrote newly-minted Indian lawyer Varsha Manoj about her experiences negotiating with her clients. Many lawyers in the US and other countries undoubtedly have similar experiences. Legal clients often experience…

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…

In 2015, I retired as an American law professor. For most of my career, I used some of the basic concepts of our field such as negotiation, BATNA, positional vs. interest-based negotiation, and facilitative vs. evaluative mediation. I wasn’t always comfortable with these terms, but I used them because I couldn’t imagine shifting to alternatives….

Values drive practice

(I first wrote about mediation’s values 12 years ago at the tail end of a Masters in Conflict Resolution and Mediation Studies.(1) Two years of study had convinced me that it is our values, rather than the techniques we learn, that tell us what to do and say when when mediating. The intervening years haven’t…