Communication Fail

Helping parties bridge gaps is the obvious part of a mediator’s job.  Less noticed is the remedial work with respect to things communicated between deal brokers before and during the mediation.

In hopes of illuminating areas for improvement, here are just a couple of ways parties vex, but could facilitate, their resolution efforts.

Say the rightImage thing the wrong way.  In real estate, it’s location, location, location.  In negotiation it’s delivery, delivery, delivery.  By this, I mean the “what,” the ”manner” and “by whom.”  Wait a beat and consider whether you’ll get more receptivity or a more productive response with you or your mediator as the messenger.

Make demands that aren’t or can’t be substantiated (i.e., reasonably explained).  At the outset, responses to demands and counter demands always begin with the curiosity of how they were arrived at.  That’s because most of us find solace in rationale.  It gives us a sense that logic of some sort (even if disagreeable) is in play — a potentially navigable framework. This, then, offers the chance for a bit of traction (logical discourse) and advancement.  Have a breakdown prepared and on hand, even if not excessively detailed.

Even if you’re not the one stumbling into an issue like these, it helps to recognize if or when the other is so you can see your way past it and stay the course towards achieving your ultimate objective — resolution.

About Maria Hanna Joseph

Maria Hanna Joseph is Principal of Joseph Mediation. Her 25 years of experience in employment law, include 16+ of work and mediating for the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination which through which she has gained valuable insight into the MCAD, its practices and decision making. This, as well as her experience in plaintiff and defense litigation, with private and public sector clients, international and local business concerns, and in issues from harassment and discrimination, to noncompetition agreements, business operation, transgender workplace matters, retaliation and many others, lend her valuable perspective for understanding and mediating an array of legal and personal issues. In terms of volume, Maria has served more than 2,000 cases. Maria's practice has been honed with study of mediation at Harvard Law School's Program of Instruction for Lawyers, negotiation at Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiation, and in the disciplines of Transformative Mediation and Family/Domestic Mediation, which are significant assets in managing the personal nature of employment disputes, and conflict in general. Attorneys and parties know Maria as candid, pragmatic and persevering in her commitment to help them achieve meaningful settlements while keeping sight of their most important interests. The insight and creativity afforded by her experience and training are realized in the resolutions that manifest. These qualities, along with her demeanor and the trust she engenders, have earned Maria a reputation for being able to manage highly tense and fraught situations and individuals, and settle a wide variety of disputes and tough cases.
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