饮水思源 – Chinese proverb meaning “When you drink water, remember its source” Many will remember 25 August 2012 as the day Neil Armstrong passed away. Neil Armstrong was a hero and an inspiration to many. He was of course the first man to walk on the moon and his achievement was symbolic to many of…

Mediators often talk about the power of framing their own language and reframing the language of parties and others in mediation settings. For example, mediators may frame their comments in neutral, constructive and future-focused language. They may reframe party statements to detoxify offensive or destructive language or to create a shift from the negative to…

I was fortunate to have been in Belfast, Northern Ireland for the International Negotiation Competition for Law Students hosted by Queen’s University. This is a competition that is run every year where students from law schools all over the world meet to negotiate simulations where they represent clients in deal-making or dispute-resolving contexts. As part…

This time of year in Ireland (August) is referred to by many as “the silly season”. Courts, legal offices and many other public services close for holidays, children get bored having been on holidays for 6 weeks already, people flock to last minute sun holiday destinations as they realise that, yet again, it is going…

Often when I’m mediating a difficult case; the parties, running hot, miles apart and showing no sign of movement, an inner voice whispers softly to me, “it’s just not ripe for settlement.” It’s an attractive concept because it lets me off the hook. Nothing to be done here until the case ripens. I might as…

In this post I want to talk about an important thread that is emerging in the science of the twenty-first century. It is the finding that we are all interconnected, that we are porous beings with the ability to influence not only ourselves but one another in ways not previously contemplated. What we previously knew…

Part of my misspent youth was spent on immersing myself in reading about, taking trainings in and practicing Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). Over the years, NLP has affected my thinking about and approach to my training and practice of mediation. Some readers may not be familiar with NLP. I will provide a, necessarily, brief background here…

I have in previous posts referred to the distinction between direct and indirect forms of communication. Mediators will certainly have encountered these forms of communication before. Without seeking to offer a comprehensive or technical definition of what direct and indirect communication is, I would like to share some thoughts on this topic. First, it is…

It is often said that listening is one of a mediator’s core skills. At the same time the parties’ ability to listen to each other is equally important. Where parties’ communication has broken down to such an extent that they are unable to really hear what each other is saying, mediators can step in and…