Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
I am sure each of my readers will be saying, “Yes Jeff, of course I am.” And then of course if you know me and my blog, there is much more to the question.
The easiest and quickest way to decide if you are an effective mediator is to point to the success rate of cases you handle. You can say to possible future clients, “I have a 92% settlement rate with cases I mediate.” You can also use such percentages on first dates but I cannot promise you it will get a second date.
So do you decide your effectiveness on your success rate? Is that how your parties decide? I believe measuring your effectiveness via successful settlement is limiting yourself. Yes, it is important but there is much more that goes into being an effective mediator.
Think about it, if all you cared about was racking up your settlement percentage, how genuine will you come across when you are supposed to be using empathy or acknowledging feelings? Yes, don’t ever forget there are feelings involved, even if the case is allegedly only about money!
So what other terms can be used to assess your mediation? I recently read in Mediation: Skills and Techniques, the following terms can be used in measuring your effectiveness:
Process is an integral part of mediation. Are the parties happy with the format? Did they feel they were able to speak and be understood? Did they think it was fair? Did they have equal time compared to the other party(s)? Ensuring the parties are not only satisfied but also happy with the process should not be overlooked as the process itself is many times just as important to the participants as the actual issue that brought them to the mediation. Being part of the process and decision making not only increases the effectiveness of the mediation but it also has an impact on the durability of the settlement.
Efficiency refers to the order and structure of the mediation. Did you help both parties prepare? Did the mediation take a reasonable amount of time? Was it too brief or drag on and on?
Empowerment is another method used to measure a mediator’s effectiveness. It is important to make sure that all parties involved are on an equal playing field. How do you do that? The following can be helpful:
- Equal speaking time
- Limited interruptions
- Both parties understanding it is their process, not yours or anyone else’s
- They are the ones deciding the outcome, the power rests in their hands
- Equipping them with skills to not only handling the current issue but future ones too
Durability means how the result of the mediation will hold over time. A photo-worthy handshake is worthless unless the actual agreement is something the parties can both stick with. Did both parties contribute to the decision making process Future casting and reality testing can help you as the mediator to get the parties to consider this.
Relationship. Sometimes the parties get so worked into their positions (which we have to help them move towards interests, right?) and the issues they forget about the relationship they have with the other party. It could be a client, neighbor, employee, friend or co-worker. Losing sight of the relationship raises the potential to damage, possibly permanently, whatever connection they have with the other party. This brings up the unfortunate win-the-battle but lose-the-war scenario. The mediator’s job in the context of relationship is to help the parties have a better understanding of each other and assist them to evaluate each option, including their BATNA and WATNA, with its influence on their relationship.
“What we are hoping is that the UN will continue to engage in the dialogue and mediation process to do with Fiji in partnership with the Commonwealth and obviously working through the Pacific Forum.”
Read more [here]
Police Tell Warring Residents to Seek Mediation
POLICE have urged warring Coomera Waters residents to seek mediation after the ongoing dispute about who should have access to a footpath took another dramatic turn...
Police Acting Inspector Andrew Dupere said rather than fight, residents should consider mediation.
Insp Dupere said police would not become involved but if called would help keep the peace.
"It's a civil matter. We're there to keep the peace and make sure no violence happens between the different parties or it doesn't escalate into violence," he said.
Read more [here]
Victims Prefer Mediation Over Legal Action
The latest research conducted in KwaZulu- Natal, the province with the highest incidence of domestic violence, shows that most victims prefer mediation to taking their abusers to court.
The victims participated in victim-centred restorative justice mediation voluntarily.
Full article [here]
Flexibility, partnerships, knowledge key to mediating conflicts – UN official
To boost its ability to prevent and limit bloodshed, the United Nations must have flexible funding, regional partnerships and accessible information for mediation, the Organization’s political chief said today.
“Mediation is a Charter activity of the United Nations and must be carried out with the highest degree of professionalism, transparency and preparation to promote peace and security,” ...
Full article [here]
- Competition for carbon-based sources of energy. The NIC predicts that scarcity of carbon-based sources of energy and a desire for secure access to energy supplies will bring countries into conflict.
- Water. Activities by countries close to a water source that reduce the water available to downstream countries through diversion, retention and pollution of water are increasing worldwide, and with them the number of disputes.
- Natural Resources of the seabed. there are potentially 430 maritime boundaries among 67 coastal countries, fewer than half are agreed upon and only a handful of those involve the outer continental shelf, disputes are inevitable.
As with today's global economy situation, financial disputes also are listed a potential provider to international conflict. A worthy note is financial disputes are not just between international corporations, but also between nations. The recent Naftohaz Ukrainy and Gazprom dispute, both state run by the Ukraine and Russia respectively, serves as an example.
So how does ADR fit in on the international stage? Well, The EU Directive on Mediation in Civil and Commercial Matters, adopted in 2008, not only encourages mediation but also the enforcement of agreements reached there as well.
The article adds that the international neutral community will face two challenges:
- The need for greater sophistication in the mechanisms deployed to stimulate settlement;
- The need for greater cultural sensitivity as mediation is used to address disputes between parties from different cultural traditions.
The issue of cultural sensitivity seems to be 'popping' up often. When attending the recent American Bar Association section on Dispute Resolution's Spring Conference in New York City, there were numerous sessions dedicated to the issue of mediating internationally and the issue of cultural differences.
Read the entire article [here].
This gem of a guide/report is written by Priscilla Hayner, Director of the ICTJ Program on Peace and Justice and part of the HD Centre's "Negotiating Justice: Strategies for tackling isues in peace processes".
This report will serve the global mediator well. A major topic covered includes the very important, and ever increasing issue of when dealing with international peace talks, how to handle amesty dilemmas. The issue is brought up to show that it is not as simple being 'peace versus justice' but more complex. Also, framing it in such a way limits options (remember- expanding the pie).
Chapter one deals with framing the questions of justice and how it can be focused on two dinstinct goals. First being, "justice mesaures might seek accountabilty for abuses of the past, which may be done through both judicial and non-judicial means. Second, a justice policy may strengthen instituations or laws to prevent abuses in the future. Additionally, conflict can be approached by asking the following four questions:
- What has been the nature of the abuses in the conflict
- What demands for accountability may arise, and from whom?
- Who is well placed to offer policy options?
- What are the options for justice? And what should be done inside the peace negotiations to address these?
Chapter two goes onto discuss recent experiences of peace agreements and how the issue of justice is included. In regards to implementation, it is noted the more the steps are explicit and a timeline is included, the greater the chance of the measures being carried out. A list of criteria is given to consider when designing peace agreements.
The report then goes into the detailed process of who to include in the peace process and the various levels of involvement each party can play. This chapter, and the report as a whole, has a substantial impact on those in the global mediation field who read this because not only does it give structural tips on how to handle the broad spectrum on agreements, but it also includes specific, real examples of them being used in various settings around the globe.
The next two chapters deal with the issue of amnesty and and the role of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Although the mediator is a neutral party to the talks, almost always the issue of amnesty will be raised, so it is imeperative to know the international laws regarding it, and recent situations involving this sensitive topic. The ICC can play a pivotal role in the direction of a peace agreement. An appropriate example is the recent arrest warrant it issued to Sudanese President Bashir on five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes.
For only 24 pages, this report has a wealth of imformation. It conlcudes with a section on emerging lessons and best practices making this report a good addition to the stack of reference books for any global mediator.
Read the report [here]
Life's a Gamble!
I am off to fabulous Las Vegas for a couple of days. I'd say it's to research negotiating skills in various environments but that would be a lie. I am off to (hopefully) enjoy warm weather, swimming and perhaps a gamble here and there :)
I look forward to a few days of rest and relaxation but don't worry, over the past few days I did a couple of extra blog posts so you won't be left in the dark.
If I don't mention my trip in a future blog posting when I return, don't ask if I won!
Today, it is one of Toronto's most successful social enterprises.
Twenty-four years ago, a pioneering community activist named Ruth Morris proposed a way of handling neighbourhood disputes. Before going to the police or city hall, residents would bring their clashes – over noise, parking, garbage, privacy, pets, rent arrears and property issues – to a trained volunteer who would help them resolve the conflict themselves.
Similar schemes have already been set up in France and Belgium in response to the credit crisis.
Following models already in place at prisons in Baltimore and Jessup, Md., the Washington County Community Mediation Center last month started arranging “re-entry mediation” sessions for inmates at Maryland Correctional Training Center, a medium-security men’s prison south of Hagerstown, said Valerie Main, executive director of the Washington County Community Mediation Center.
B.J. Chute of the Canadian Union of Public Employees said yesterday that Health Minister George Abbott suggested last Thursday that government representatives were ready to talk about appointing a mediator.
However, an official with the B.C. Ambulance Service also said last week that the two sides were too far apart for a mediator.
AB 1 passed 49-24 but not before other lawmakers subjected Monning to the traditional hazing of new lawmakers during floor debate on their first bills.
"I am a little concerned that this is another example of the Legislature passing laws that don't apply to themselves," Assembly Hector De La Torre, D-South Gate, stressing the need for conflict resolution on issues like the budget.
State Sen. Lena Taylor and State Rep. Leon Young will introduce the "Mortgage Mediation" plan.
It would ensure that even if a foreclosure settlement cannot be reached, mediation efforts would assist both the borrower and the lender.
A plan would be created to streamline proceedings, avoid unnecessary delays and potentially shorten the foreclosure process by up to 15 months.
The Party's Over
0800 The ABA Spring Conference is ending today. First, the two sessions I plan to attend today are:
1) The 7 keys to Mediation as a Global Profession
2) Why ADR Services Matter in the Global Context of Business Rights
0830 A quick recap from yesterday's session, Designing Justice; Dispute System Design...- The 7 Catagories For Conflict Analysis are:
3. Potential outcomes
4. Allowable outcomes and outcome functions
5. Individual control over function
6. Information available to participants about action outcomes
7. Costs & benefits (incentives and deterents)
0830 On the train, reading the complex ;) NY Post. Cuba and the USA ready to talk? Chavez and Obama on a cruise together in the Caribean? What next, dogs and cats getting along?
0900 Looking forward to the sessions today but upon entering the exhibit hall, there is no coffee! Arrghh, makes me think of what today’s light lunch will be?
0905 I did not bring any crispy kreme donuts (see yesterday’s post). In unrelated news, no one is sitting with me or talking to me.
0915 Just had a pleasant talk with Jim from
0920 First session I plan on attending
1)Designing Justice: Dispute System Design and Justice in Education, Courts, Communities and Employment
2)Designing Effective Public Input Processes: How To Turn Controversies into Collaborations
3) Marketing Plan Workshop
As for the third, hopefully it will help me get more hits than just mom and dad reading my blog (actually, they don‘t even read it).
... And We Are Live!
Ok, well maybe not 'live' but close. I am getting ready to head off to the ABA Spring Conference. I plan to post throughout the day my random thoughts, reviews of the events other other tidbits that are no way interesting, but you will find yourself hitting the refresh button anyway for some odd reason.
0701 stuck on the train wondering which krispy kreme donuts to pick out. I like blueberry cake, so I guess I should probably get two at least.
0715 @ krispy crème.
0735 @ the Sheraton and finally meet Diane from www.mediationchannel.com, what a very pleasant person.
0800 about a dozen ‘all-star’ bloggers talking over coffee and donuts, not sure is some takeover of the mediation world will be discussed.
0805 someone just thanked Jim from Mediate.com, everyone agrees, including me.
0810 I have given out a few business cards already. I made them at www.zazzle.com. If there was some sort of competition between best cards, I surely would make the finals, right? Btw, the idea and credit of my ‘wonder-card’ goes to Geoff Sharpe. Last year in Australia he gave me his slightly bigger slim card and I have been oddly fascinated with it.
0825 Just remembered- must email Tammy from mediatortech.com as she did a great blog post recently on the world of business cards. added post (see below) of my card.
0845 unrelated to stating earlier that Jim from Mediate.com is the best, he gave me a Mediate.com mug that says Mediate.com on it. Mediate.com is not paying any advertising whatsoever, but now that I think about it, hmmm…
0855 Just realized I missed the Plenary lecture. Oops.
0859 I could have pulled off a great ‘gorilla marketing’ campaign. These crispy kreme donuts are a hit with everyone. Heaps of people keep coming over to ask for one. I am sure my charming looks have something to do with it too. If only I had something to market though…
0905 Arrgggh. No WiFi in the area of the hotel except in the lobby which is on another floor. Going down now to see if it works and to upload the past hours worth fabulous blogging…
0915 It’s live! (well, almost live), be back again soon….
0925 Finally met Irena From IMIMediation.org. If you are a mediator, check out their site. They are an international organization that is trying to set, well, an international standard for mediators. I am almost done with filling out my application to join, I suggest at the very least have a look.
0930 just coerced Lee Jay from AIM, American Institute of Mediation (http://www.americaninstituteofmediation.com/index.cfm) into taking my last two krispy kremes as I don't want them to go to waste.
0935 Besty Thomas, from Complete Equity markets, Inc (cemins.com) just gave me a whole heap of freebies as a trade off since she ate two of my donuts (a blueberry cake one too!). Oh, and she likes my business card too.
1015 session A- The Pivotal Role of Conflict in Influence & Persuasion.
Why did I choose this a the first session I’ll attend? Well, in the mindset of my police work, I have to handle situations where many times the outcome is already predetermined. The task usually at hand is to figure out the nonviolent path (for everyone) and a method of getting the party(s) involved to want to choose a path that the police thinks is best. Professors Ray Patterson & Peter Reilly of UNLV are the presenters.
1200 Session just ended, a really good handout and some notes that some might find of interest.
1210 they said light lunch would be served, and they were not kidding with “light”. Veggie chips, cheese and crackers, and apple and beef jerker. Yum.
1300 Session 2, Mediating Globally: The Impact of Culture on Mediation. Three handouts for everyone which is good because I like handouts. One of them is full of questions to ask yourself before and during a mediation with different cultures. They are broken down into 6 sections:
1) Are the parties from these cultures strongly focused on individual interests or collective interests?
2) Are the parties from these cultures oriented toward hierarchical or egalitarian power?
3) Are the parties from these cultures comfortable with uncertainty?
4) Do the parties from these cultures operate in a high context environment or low context environment?
5) Are the parties from these cultures monochromic-linear or polychromic-holistic?
6) Are the parties from these cultures traditional or secular?
1445 Session 3 is Neuroscience, negotiation and persuasion. Off-topic but I am hungry, surprised? I am not.
1635 Session 4: Emotional Truthfulness and Lie Detection in Negotiation: Science, Culture and Skills.
1545 Brilliant session, 4 stars to Clark Freshman (cue bad joke…not senior nor junior).
1800 reception time, two tickets for two drinks (hmm, to make u for the non-lunch maybe). Time to see old friends and meet new friends….
2215 … On the LIRR home to do it all again tomorrow.
Stuck in your negotiation or mediation? These questions might help you move from being stuck to moving forward together.
1. How can we decide which option to choose?
2. How can we accomplish what you want?
3. What makes that solution fair?
4. How did you arrive at that idea?
5. What is the theory behind that?
6. How do other people handle that problem?
7. What would happen if you went to court?
8. Would expert opinion be of any help?
9. What is it you are trying to accomplish?
10. How have you resolved this problem before?
11. Is there another alternative you can think of?
12. Why do you think that will/won’t work?
13. What would you need to resolve this dispute?
14. What do you think your opponent wants?
From this manual [here], note the link is a pdf file.
United Nations (PTI): Describing United Nations' role in peaceful settlement of disputes as its primary mission, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said the world body's mediation capacity must be bolstered.
"Too often in the past, mediators have been dispatched without the full benefit of specialised training and background information, giving United Nations efforts an ad hoc quality too dependent on trial and error," Ban wrote in a report to the Security Council made public on Thursday.
Full (short) article [here]
America, Land of the International Mediators?
The following article refers to President Obama and his administrations shift in foreign policy compared to his predecessor.
"...This is not a major new policy - but it does seem like another small shift toward repositioning the U.S. as a credible mediator seeking to work simultaneously for the rights and best interests of both Israelis and Palestinians. Rarely has a U.S. president spoken so clearly about both Israelis and Palestinians needing to change their ways to achieve peace."
Full article [here]
Australian Family Mediation Saves Government $
Forcing feuding parents to undergo mediation before entering the court system has saved the federal government millions of dollars, a new report reveals.Under changes to the Family Law Act introduced from mid-2007, mothers and fathers who want a parenting order from the court must first attend family dispute resolution meetings.
Full article [here]
Blair: Skepticism about peace after Netanyahu win
JERUSALEM (AP) — International mediator Tony Blair says there's skepticism about the prospects for peace because of Israel's new government.
Blair spoke Monday after meeting with Israel's new prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Blair said he believes Netanyahu understands that the only formula for peace is a Palestinian state next to Israel.
Netanyahu has pointedly not endorsed creation of a Palestinian state. Blair thought Netanyahu would come around "if the right context can be created for peace."
Blair noted skepticism over Netanyahu's election and said there must be time for the new governments in Israel and the U.S. to "settle down."
Blair said "the only solution that will ever work" is two states living side by side in peace.
UN To Review Mediation Role in Fiji
Update: 3:08PM THE United Nations will review its decision to mediate the proposed President's Political Dialogue Forum which was to chart a way forward for a return to parliamentary democracy.
Full brief article [here]
Parishes ask Vatican for mediation over closings
BOSTON (AP) — Worshippers in eight dioceses around the country have banded together in a last-ditch effort to ask the Vatican to instruct bishops to negotiate with them over the closures of their parishes and to stop them from "wrecking the Catholic Church in America."
Full article [here]
307 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003 Map it between 2nd & 1st Avenues
For those coffee lovers- This is the BEST coffee in the world. I have travel (much) of the world and this place by far has the best coffee... trust me. Add to that the 'bohemian' atmosphere of the cafe and you will see why I call this this place well, Bohemia!
150 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011 Map it between 6th & 7th Avenues
Yes there are all the other more well-known museums uptown but this place is truly a gem. It houses Himalayan Art that is well worth the time to check out. (near Union Sq. Park)
Rainbow Falafel & Shawarma
26 East 17th Street, New York, NY 10003 (b/n Fifth Avenue and Broadway; map); 212-691-8641; Cost: $3.50 for a falafel sandwich
The best falafel in town but if you do not look carefully, you might miss this tiny place. It is a tiny storefront that on nice days, has a (well worth the wait) 20-30 person line up outside. Outside I say because you can literally only fit about 4 people inside. get your falafel, then go eat it in Union Square Park.
If you can't find it, try Maoz across the street on the other side of the park.
Union Square Park & Central Park
Union Sq is a tiny park that usually has vendors selling different types of knick-knacks (stuff that is cool that you don't really need). Central Park is huge, so make some sort of plan of what spots to hit, otherwise heaps of time will be lost trying to navigate it.
Take subway 4/5/6 (and others) to Brooklyn Bridge stop. Then, look for a big bridge.
This icon of NYC is worth the visit. Get out your walking shoes (or high heels, hey it's New York, wear whatever you want!) and take the approximately 25 minute walk across. Great views and pictures.
J and R
15 Park Row, New York, NY 10038 Map it Park Row and Beekman Steet
Diagonally across from City Hall and just south of the Brooklyn Bridge, this electronic store is a must visit if you are interested in purchasing any sort of gadget while here. Note: the store takes up the whole block and has different entrances for each department.
St. Patricks Cathedral
460 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10022 Map it
Cathedral of Saint John The Divine
1047 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025 Map it
All I can say is although this is a bit of trip uptown, the place is amazingly huge. A beautiful, humbling experience to see its massive presence from the inside.
Mahayana Buddhist Temple
133 Canal St (between Chrystie St & Forsyth St)http://www.yelp.com/biz/mahayana-temple-buddhist-association-new-york
Yes, you can go to Tao or Buddhakan to see a big Buddha statue but this temple in Chinatown is amazing. Don't be discouraged but the ordinary entrance.
5 Mott St, New York, NY 10013 Map it
Not only does this place have the best vegetarian food in Chinatown, but the menu is named after different meats, poultry and fish. For example, although it is not really chicken, the 'chicken' and broccoli is fantastic.
Statue of Liberty
Feeling cheap? Take the Staten Island Ferry for free to get a decent view of Ms. Liberty and hop right back on the next ferry to get back into Manhattan.
Yes, be the typical tourist and go there and take pictures.
133 W 33rd St, New York, NY 10001 Map it Between 6th and 7th Avenue
This place in midtown has your typical bar food menu with massive size TV screens everywhere. What is not typical is the beer menu- if you like beer, this is your place. Note: it is around the block from Macy's- yes THE Macy's shopping department store that takes up an entire block.
Better than any amusement park ride, taking the subway is a must for an authentic trip to NYC. be careful, and if you are really looking for an adventure, try taking it during rush hour!
Highschool Musical Part IV: Mediation Time!
Trying to get your kids to think mediation is cool?
Can't convince them the better choice is communication- not violence?
Well, tell them Venessa Hudgens of Disney's Highschool Musical uses mediation.
Read the pointless article [here]
Parishioners from eight dioceses seek mediation for parish closings
WASHINGTON – Parishioners from 31 groups in eight U.S. dioceses have joined forces to ask the Vatican to suspend parish closings and to instruct bishops to negotiate the closures with local Catholics...
Peter Borre, co-chairman of the Boston-based Council of Parishes, formed in 2004 to oppose parish closings, said the effort is meant to offer a “third way” for the Catholic Church to respond to changing demographics, financial concerns and the declining number of priests nationwide. Full article [here]
Hospital, Town set for Mediation
Trinity Medical Center and the city of Irondale will use mediation in an effort to resolve a multimillion-dollar dispute over the hospital’s decision to switch its relocation to U.S. 280.
The hospital and government officials will meet May 27 in an attempt to settle out of court an argument over the city’s investment to prepare a site off Grants Mill Road for Trinity to build a $316 million, 424-bed hospital.
Full article [here]
Ambulance Group In Mediation
A member of the Sauk Prairie Ambulance Association's oversight commission hopes to avoid what could become a heated public confrontation between the two organizations over the fate of Rikky Schiller, the ambulance association's embattled president...
...Wenzel, who is married to Schiller's husband's sister, will mediate the meeting.
"My main goal is to get them to communicate," Wenzel said. "There has been no communication between those three. This is not the time to go back and bring up old grudges. If they can communicate maybe they can work this thing out before it goes to a total fracas at a public meeting."
Full article [here]
Somililand and Conflict Resolution
(Somalilandpress) - Traditionally, disputes and conflicts in Somali society are resolved through recourse to an unwritten code of conduct or social contract called xeer: traditional law agreed upon by the clans in each area, and dependent on the deliberations of elders who gather to resolve specific problems within a clan or between clans...
...New xeer rules are developed to address unforeseen occurrences, so the system is a dynamic and evolving one. Aggrieved parties may negotiate under the auspices of a Guurti or else a group of mediators known as ergo may be despatched to attempt to mediate between the parties without becoming overly engaged in the subject-matter of the dispute. If a settlement is not agreed at this stage, a xeerbeegti or jury, may be appointed to pass judgement on a given case with each party being expected to accept the verdict.
Full article [here]
Intensity of conflict demonstrates the closeness and importance of relationships. Intimate relationships require us to express opposing feelings such as love and anger. The coexistence of these emotions in a relationship create a sharpness when conflicts arise. While the intensity of emotions can threaten the relationship, if they are dealt with constructively, they also help us measure the depth and importance of the relationship.
Conflict can build new relationships. At times, conflict brings together people who did not have a previous relationship. During the process of conflict and its resolution, these parties may find out that they have common interests and then work to maintain an ongoing relationship.
Conflict can create coalitions. Similar to building relationships, sometimes adversaries come together to build coalitions to achieve common goals or fend off a common threat. During the conflict, previous antagonism is suppressed to work towards these greater goals.
Conflict serves as a safety-valve mechanism which helps to sustain relationships. Relationships which repress disagreement or conflict grow rigid over time, making them brittle. Exchanges of conflict, at times through the assistance of a third-party, allows people to vent pent-up hostility and reduce tension in a relationship.
Conflict helps parties assess each other’s power and can work to redistribute power in a system of conflict. Because there are few ways to truly measure the power of the other party, conflicts sometimes arise to allow parties to assess one another's strength. In cases where there is an imbalance of power, a party may seek ways to increase its internal power. This process can often change the nature of power within the conflict system.
Conflict establishes and maintains group identities. Groups in conflict tend to create clearer boundaries which help members determine who is part of the “in-group” and who is part of the “out-group”. In this way, conflict can help individuals understand how they are part of a certain group and mobilise them to take action to defend the group’s interests.
Conflicts enhance group cohesion through issue and belief clarification. When a group is threatened, its members pull together in solidarity. As they clarify issues and beliefs, renegades and dissenters are weeded out of the group, creating a more sharply defined ideology on which all members agree.
Conflict creates or modifies rules, norms, laws and institutions. It is through the raising of issues that rules, norms, laws and institutions are changed or created. Problems or frustrations left unexpressed result in the maintaining of the status quo.
As an advocate of using communication as a way to promote nonviolent resolutions to situations (was that a mouthful?), I often get the opportunity to serve as a bridge between two different people or groups that can help serve that purpose.
Today is one of those days where I am able to bring together Jack Cambria (pictured above), a Lieutenant and Commanding Officer of the Hostage and Negotiation Unit for the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and law students at Cardozo Law School enrolled in the Negotiation and Theory Skills.
The plan is for there to be a presentation and discussion on the negotiation principles used when negotiating in a hostage or other serious police situation and how although unique and only a few very highly trained people are involved is such situations, core negotiation principles such as BATNA, interests, credibility and among others are used. Hopefully the students will not only find the presentation interesting, but also be able to take some information learned and add it to their toolbox.
Read more about Lt. Cambria [here]
Btw, not sure if you want to read the above article? Here's a tidbit that might change your mind:
In a highly-charged crisis situation, the first step is to slow things down, he says. “Most policing looks to resolve a situation quickly. Negotiation has a different dynamic. People have to work through their emotion.” If anyone has the proverbial nerves of steel, it’s Cambria. He estimates he has dealt with more than 1,000 negotiations, each taking about four hours on average. The longest lasted 50 hours.
Phrases for Active Listening
Encouraging “Can you tell me more?”
Clarifying “When did this happen?”
Summarizing “Let me see if I understand what you just said.”
Acknowledging “I can see you are feeling very angry right now.”
Open Questioning “Why?” “What would you like to see happen?”
Responding “I see it this way .... How do you see it?”
Soliciting “I would like your advice about how we can resolve this.”
Encouraging “How would you feel if it were you?”
Normalizing “Many people feel the way you do.”
Empathizing “I can appreciate why you feel that way.”
Reframing “I understand that you feel .... when s/he ....”
Validating “I appreciate your willingness to be here.”
The image is pretty much self-explanatory so no reason for me to blabber on.
Remember, preparation is important when getting ready for a mediation/negotiation, so being able to properly identify the conflict will help you move towards a viable solution. Don't forget, many times the conflict can also be a combination of the categories.
The image can be a great tidbit to add to your presentation or handout; it has worked for me in the past. Sometimes, words, spoken or written, can become boring and adding an image here or there helps liven things up a bit.
I found this PDF file from the law firm Blaney McMurtry LLP (Toronto, Canada) while writing the 7 Elements of Negotiation, Part 6: Communication (LINK). It has a list of tips for communicating during mediation.
From the sheet, they are:
- Paraphrasing and Summarizing
- Ask clarifying questions
- Focus on the problem, not the person
- Speak from your own perspective
- Speak directly to the other person
- Be specific
- Build for the future
- Focus on common interests, not positions
- Create options for mutual gain
...And finally, foster an atmosphere of cooperation and collaboration.