With the upmost respect and acknowledgment to Hamlet's famous soliloquy in Shakespeare's Hamlet, (Act 3, Scen3 1, lines 55-87), the question often arises of when should the parties attempt to negotiate a settlement, through mediation or otherwise.
Some weeks, I am able to settle each matter that I mediate while other weeks, I am unable to settle even one. Like everyone else, I think in terms of "streaks"; that is, I am on a good "streak" or a bad "streak".
n a recent post entitled "Listening for the Emotions", I discussed that the best way to calm someone down is to address the emotion and not the words. I learned this in a training session with Douglas E. Noll.
In his bestselling book, Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2011) notes that our brains contain two systems of thought: System 1 which "... operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort and no sense of voluntary control" (Id. at 20) and System 2 which "...allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand it, including complex computations...." (Id. at 21.)
Have you ever attempted to calm down an emotional person? Our natural inclination is to deny the emotional content of what the speaker is saying by using logic and/or facts such as, "There is no reason to get upset", "Calm down", "You are over-reacting", "You have misunderstood", "Maybe it is because...."; "Don't be so sensitive", "Let's look at the facts...", "If you really think about it....", et cetera. (Micro-Interventions in Mediation, by Douglas E. Noll at pp. 15-23 (2014))
Once again, the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School has published an interesting blog by Katie Shonk (In Business Negotiations, Dress the Part, June 24, 2014) discussing what we all know but do not always think about: as part of any negotiation, one must dress the part. As she explains, if one is negotiating with an apparel company, the worst thing one can do is wear a competitor's clothing to the negotiation! Also, one may not want to show up in business attire but rather the apparel typical of the company with whom one is negotiating.
As a mediator specializing in "lemon law" cases, I work with many of the same plaintiffs' and defense counsel over and over again. They also work with each other over and over again, as well. These two points can be good... and can be bad as I quickly found out recently.
Something tells me that being a foodie if not a chef should be part of the job description of a mediator. About a month ago, I wrote about a study that showed how one's grumpiness and thus willingness to settle disputes depends on the level of one's blood sugar; the grumpier one is, the greater the likelihood that one wants to stick pins in a voodoo doll representing the opposing party.(See, "It's All in the Blood Sugar")
Let us suppose that you are at a mediation or in some sort of negotiation and the other party has just said something that has gotten you so angry, you are ready to grab your belongings and storm out of the mediation/negotiation.