Won't Leak in Flight!

Hire Me: I’m Really Good at Summarizing

What are the odds of me being hired if this was my big selling point as a professional mediator?  Think about it, you really do want to be a good summarizer, right?

Of course this is absurd to think this would be a top selling point when promoting yourself but it came to mind when something else, equally or perhaps more absurd was presented to me.

As mediators, an important tool (and I mean literally here, not the “Mediator’s Toolbox” sense) is a pen.  Based on informal conversations I had with other mediators, I am not the only one who puts lots of effort in their pen selection.  Of course there are some that laughed while saying a pen is just a pen which got me to thinking if there mindset on pens is so flawed, what kind of mediation skills could they have??

As my favorite pen was beginning to go low on ink, I embarked on going to the local store to get a new one.  See, I was planning ahead, when the current one runs out of ink, I will have the other one available right away.  As I searched, the first two stores were sold out.  This allowed my ego to become slightly larger as I now began to think that I am in good company and have good taste in pen selection as they are sold out in two places while the regular run of the mill pens were abundantly available.  Think about it, who needs a discerning mind for wine selection when pen selection is much more important?

Anyway, on attempt number three, I found my pen.  My joy was short-lived and was replaced with confusion as my ever-discerning mind reviewed the packaging to see what it had to say (perhaps insight as to why it is the best pen in the world) and I see the following as the main marketing reason, at least from Bic, as to why this pen is so good:

Yes, it won’t leak in flight.

Now I travel fairly often each year and all of my concerns (crashing into water, missing my connection, not being offered a drink with my meal, jockeying over the arm rest with a stranger, etc.) never once, not once did I ever (EVER!) think about my pen leaking mid-flight, early-flight, or as towards the completion of the flight.  Does this constitute an epic marketing failure?

This brings me back to mediation and marketing.  Take a brief moment to consider, even if your mediation business is a raging success (or not), is it despite your marketing or because of it? 

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Time's Role In Mediation, Negotiation & Conflict Resolution

Time often plays a crucial role in mediations, negotiations, conflict coaching, and other conflict related situations.  Aside of the obvious billable rate per hour, there are various subtle yet important ways TIME factors into the work we do as professionals assisting those in the midst of a conflict or dispute.

Chronemics, the study of time, is a nonverbal communication element part of my PhD research (check out the Prezi) on mediators, and like many topics, is often best understood and explained through the use of metaphors.

Looking at time and the various metaphors that can be associated with it, for this post I will concentrate in the TIME IS A JOURNEY metaphor.  I actually posted the following on twitter recently and it generated some great responses:

 Jeff Thompson 
Negotiators, mediators & coaches- is conflict a journey? Does it get 'stuck'? Is 'moving forward' always good? 

and the responses:

tammycravitJan 14, 9:50pm via Echofon
@mediatorjeff I've experienced situations where stuck-ness & backward movement are necessary to the ultimate resolution of a conflict.

Jenny_RadcliffeJan 14, 1:51pm via Twitter for iPhone
@mediatorjeff - if only one side is moving it's not a#negotiation its a monologue! #conflict

jasondykJan 14, 2:15pm via UberSocial for BlackBerry
True! RT @Jenny_Radcliffe: @mediatorjeff - if only one side is moving it's not a #negotiation its a monologue!#conflict

clarkfreshmanJan 14, 4:47pm via Twitter for iPhone
@NonverbalPhD no forward is not good as metaphor for negotiation. Too often a rush to easy solutions, rather than optimal creative win win

KatriKJan 14, 12:43pm via TweetDeck
@mediatorjeff Maybe sometimes it's good to get stuck. It might mean, that there should be a break, time to think, time to silence?

Jenny_RadcliffeJan 14, 1:48pm via Twitter for iPhone
@NonverbalPhD depends on direction you're going-forward=negotiation backwards= litigation so says @Stuart_Diamond

This gets me thinking and to further reflect.  How do I (and you) view time? Examples can include the following statements being made:

"time is be wasted..."
"We have not moved far in the past hour..."
"Look at how far we have gotten in the past two hours"
"Should we move onto another topic for the moment?"

Jenny Radcliffe brings up the point that some view moving forward as positive, while backwards is negative (and litigation, ha! that's a whole other topic!) while Katri (@KatriK) states time being "stuck" and going neither forward or backward could positive.  

I often tend to use this approach to give a "reality check" and perhaps "stroke" the parties by saying something along the lines of "hey, let's stop for a second and look at where everyone was at the beginning of this, and where we have come at this point..."

Clark Freshman adds his wisdom by saying how often the TIME IS A JOURNEY and how too fast of a process can often be detrimental to the process of negotiations and mediations.  I say there are stages for a reason!

Finally, Tammy reminds me that sometimes you might have to go a backwards to go forwards towards a resolution.

Hopefully this brief post will allow you to reflect on how TIME IS A JOURNEY metaphor plays an important role during your work and realize the parties might approach it differently.  Also, it is also a subtle hat-tip and promotion of the value of twitter- using twitter is well worth time as it has helped me move forward on my path towards increasing my ability to help others involved in conflicts (wow, check out all those metaphors!).


Btw, anyone else think about about how TIME IS MONEY is another important metaphor played out in conflict resolution?

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Mediation, Negotiation & Nonverbal Communication

I invite everyone to listen to a recent segment I participated in on Nicole Dyer's radio show on ABC Gold Coast radio.  I discuss the importance of nonverbal communication in various settings including mediation sessions and negotiations.  This includes how important rapport is and specific nonverbal gestures that are associated with it.

We then discuss my research on nonverbal communication and mediators as part of my PhD work at Griffith University Law School.

The segment ends with me explaining a police related situation where I was able to use my knowledge of culture to engage others during a tense situation to develop rapport.

The whole segment deals with important tips and topics surrounding nonverbal communication however it does not include lots of jargon unfamiliar to a person not involved in research.  With that said, Enjoy!

Find more music like this on ADRhub Werner Institute
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