The Power of Empathy

Why read about empathy when you can watch RSA Animate short clip below?

For those are not aware of RSA Animate, think TED Talks but drawings or animations instead.  The ones I have seen are good, really good. 

I frequently say during my trainings, workshops, and lectures that empathy is one of the most important words not only in conflict resolution but with life in general.  

Then, not only is it an important word, but the importance is pointless unless it is understood and practiced daily.  Empathy is a tool, when used genuinely, that can help conflict resolution professionals (mediators, negotiators, coaches, ombuds, etc.) be effective in assisting people that are involved in conflicts and disputes.

Remember empathy, as the video explains, is not the same as sympathy.

Instead of me writing more (I can do that in another post!), enjoy the short clip below:

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Listening, Empathizing & Building Rapport to Handle Crisis

Buying time is one of the most essential tasks of a crisis negotiator.

"In a crisis situation-where there is homicide, hostage taking or suicide-the suspect is generally not thinking rationally," Beatty said. "If you just keep a person from doing whatever it is they are intending long enough, they will calm down, think about it, and realize how bad of an idea it is to harm themselves or others." 

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Recommendations to develop International Commercial Mediation in Singapore

On 3 December 2013, Singapore’s Ministry of Law unveiled key initiatives to transform and develop its international commercial mediation sector. Based on recommendations of a Working Group established in April 2013 by Singapore’s Chief Justice and the Ministry, the recommendations include the establishment of two new independent mediation entities: a new professional mediation body (the “Singapore International Mediation Institute”), and a new international mediation service provider (the “Singapore International Mediation Centre”).

The Ministry of Law’s press release (below) and summary of recommendations are available on their website, at the following link:

1.            The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) welcomes recommendations made by the International Commercial Mediation Working Group (ICMWG) to develop Singapore into a centre for international commercial mediation.  This will add to Singapore’s vibrant dispute resolution sector that has been growing on the back of a significant rise in commercial transactions in Asia and the corresponding increase in the number and complexity of cross-border disputes.

Recommendations by the International Commercial Mediation Working Group

2.            The ICMWG submitted its recommendations on 29 November 2013.  The recommendations include:

               a)    Quality Standards – Establish a professional body to set standards and provide accreditation for                      mediators;

               b)    International Mediation Services – Establish an international mediation service provider which will                      offer as part of its service offerings, a quality panel of international mediators and experts, as well as                        user-centric innovative products and services;

               c)    Legislative Framework – Enact a Mediation Act to strengthen the framework for mediation in                            Singapore;

               d)    Exemptions and Incentives – Extend existing tax exemptions and incentives applicable for                                arbitration, to mediation; and

               e)    Judicial Support – Enhance rules and Court processes to encourage greater use of mediation.

3.            Co-Chair of the ICMWG, Mr Edwin Glasgow QC said, “With its excellent legal system, infrastructure, connectivity and geographical location, Singapore is ideally placed to be the centre of excellence for international commercial mediation.  The feedback we have already received from international players and corporate users has been extremely positive. I hope and believe that the Working Group’s recommendations will help Singapore to acquire in respect of international commercial mediation, the reputation which it already unquestionably enjoys in the equally important field of arbitration.”

4.            Co-Chair Mr George Lim SC said, “By building up Singapore’s mediation capabilities and expertise, particularly to deal with international commercial disputes, commercial users will be able to choose from a full spectrum of dispute resolution services, ranging from facilitative mediation to binding arbitration.  This will enable users to tap on the dispute resolution process that best addresses their specific needs.  I believe that mediation, where successful, can help commercial parties save considerable time, costs and achieve flexible, mutually acceptable solutions to otherwise seemingly intractable disputes.”

5.            The Chief Justice and Minister for Law have expressed their appreciation to the Working Group for the work and effort put into this review.  MinLaw will follow up with the relevant stakeholders to see how the various recommendations can be implemented.  A summary of the ICMWG’s recommendations is at Annex A.


6.            In April 2013, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and the Ministry of Law appointed Mr Edwin Glasgow CBE QC and Mr George Lim SC to co-chair a nine-member working group to propose plans to develop the international commercial mediation space in Singapore.  The group comprised international and local members to provide a wide range of expertise and views.
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Life Of An Australian Police Hostage Crisis Negotiator

Hello all, the following is well worth reading….

"All I wanted to do was jump" … ex-police negotiator Belinda Neil gained insight into her former role the hard way.Coaxing lives back from the edge and diffusing hostile situations are what police negotiators sign up for, but it can be almost impossible not to bring the job home. By Mark Whittaker  

Belinda Neil arrives at the house, pumped after a high-speed drive with lights and sirens in the rainy night. The tactical guys with their overalls and sub-machine guns are setting up a cordon as Neil and her fellow police negotiator get a quick briefing outside. A guy called Ivan, armed with knives, has his ex-girlfriend barricaded in a room. A uniformed constable is in there, too. He'd put his gun down and gone in unarmed, attempting to defuse the situation. It's not clear now if he is a hostage, too. Neil is handed a ballistic vest, but it is too heavy for her to put on, so two officers lift it on for her…

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