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…

It’s just over six weeks since the horrific shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, leading to 50 deaths, and a month since I felt compelled to make that event the topic of my blog. Now, in the wake of the attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels in Sri Lanka leading to over 250…

The word “manipulation” has a bad name. It is usually used to denote devious and underhand behaviour. If we say that someone is being manipulative or that someone is a manipulative person then we are usually disapproving. Mediators are manipulators, and master mediators are master manipulators. I respond here to Rick Weiler’s recent post, in…

good mediation seen through a client's lens

“Like poets, but with less time” The Deep End Getting to grips with mediation can leave students and trainees overwhelmed. That favourite training tool, the roleplay, throws most in at the deep end. The sudden immersion forces them to speak, listen and observe while trying to remember models and skills plus a sea of reading…