The holidays are upon us, and with them come the usual stress and tension that family events often bring. Over Thanksgiving, I had an experience that put it in perspective for me. Although I am supposed to be the conflict resolution person, it was a cousin that gave me a very much needed "reality check", if not "permission" to think differently about family loyalty.
The December 2014 edition of The Atlantic contains an interesting article entitled "The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis" by Jonathan Rauch. In it, he notes that mid-life crisis is not a unique reality to the United States. Rather, it is a worldwide phenomenon explained by science and more particularly the "U" or happiness curve.
Either as a participant in a mediation or as the mediator, we have all learned the cardinal rule that mediations are confidential both in terms of the statements and other communications made during the mediation and the information the mediator keeps to herself, not sharing it with the other parties. Many times a mediator has analogized mediation confidentiality to the television ad, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" to explain the sacrosanct nature of mediation confidentiality.
No doubt, you have read some interesting book or article and the next thing you know, it is playing out in real life. Well, this blog is about just that.
Thanksgiving will soon be upon us. And while we will all give thanks for the many blessings that we have, I thought I would share some of the lesser known, but interesting facts about our national holiday. (Spoiler alert: This blog has absolutely nothing to do with mediation!)
There is an old adage, "Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?" And indeed, many of us do just that because time is a precious commodity of which there is never enough.
The other day, I conducted two mediations between the same plaintiff's counsel, the same defendants and their counsel. The only different party in the two mediations was the plaintiff. One mediation was to start in the morning and the next in early afternoon, figuring each would take about 3 hours.
Once again, the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School published an interesting article. This time it is about the "rules" that the New York City Police Hostage Negotiators live by to defuse the very stressful crises with which they deal almost daily. What strikes me about the "rules" is that they are quite simple to the point that anyone can understand and use them. They do not take loads of training to implement; just common sense.
In previous blogs, I have discussed the importance of "small talk" as a way to not only get to know people but to build rapport and trust. A key to helping parties settle their dispute is having a relationship with them and that relationship depends on trust. A party is NOT going to pay attention to someone she does not trust. And this includes the mediator!
I had an interesting mediation the other day. I say "interesting" as I am not sure what other adjective to use.