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.
Once again, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has addressed the issue of the federal common law mediation confidentiality privilege without addressing it. It avoids the issue by saying that while the federal common law mediation confidentiality privilege applies, the defendant waived it and so it is not necessary to address this issue substantively.
In many mediations (including those I have conducted), there comes a point when the parties are at an impasse: they are stymied in reaching a settlement. The plaintiff wants more, and the defendant believes it has already offered too much. The parties want to settle but do not know how to bridge the gap.
Recently, I received an e mail alerting me to an order (Order_Mot for Remit_MSJ re New Trial.pdf ) of a federal court providing that mediation confidentiality would not apply to prevent an insurance company from using statements made during mediation to defend itself against claims of insurance bad faith.