“You’ve done what?” It took just a moment. The red mist descended. The words were out before I could haul them back in. “You’ve just gone behind my back and undermined what I set out, and we had agreed, we would do….you might at least have had the courtesy…..” The lawyer had just told me…

At a certain point, when another offer was denied, one of the managers showed a real disappointment with the hard negotiation approach presented by the other party: “You know what?! I lost my patience. I will not sit here any further… I will ask my lawyer to finish the formalities and let’s see each other…

A couple of weeks ago I came across a poem by the Native American writer Joy Harjo, entitled “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings.” The title made me curious, as might be expected for a mediator. You can find the whole poem online on the Poetry Foundation website, or you can buy the book of poems…

Formality and informality

Place matters It’s good to see authors on this blog referencing academic research – see Rick Weiler’s recent post on decision-making. Similarly, a new chapter by Singapore judicial mediator Dorcas Quek Anderson (1) has got me thinking about the old chestnut of formality and informality. Anderson considers the impact on people and processes of the…

Recently, as I sat in a mediation room awaiting the arrival of lawyers and clients I did something I have often done for more than 20 years. I performed an ancient divination ritual. I cast the I Ching. The I Ching is an ancient Chinese oracle dating back about 3,000 years. It has provided insight…

In one of my recent cases, the question of impartiality appeared in quite an irregular way. It happened when I entered the mediation room where both parties were seated together with their lawyers. They were drinking coffee and making small talk. To my surprise, one of the lawyers looked quite familiar. Just for a moment,…

(This post is being republished because of technical problems when it was first published). Thanks to Martin Svatos, for pointing out in his recent blog a number of cases where mediators or would-be mediators feature in popular films. That set me thinking … A few years ago, I offered a workshop on mediation based on…

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…

As the year comes to an end, I am expanding upon a story to which I referred in a previous blog, in the hope that it may provide a couple of useful reminders of what we do as mediators. I had eaten a chicken curry rather hastily at the hotel where I had been mediating…

Christmas Spirit in Air It is hard to miss that the Christmas is coming, especially if you live in this part of the world. The streets of both major cities and smallest villages are decorated, the trees’ candles lit up and everybody is carrying lots of presents in public transport. If you are lucky enough,…