How to argue on the internet and in mediation

| November 28, 2011 | 0 Comments

I recently read a post called “How to argue on the internet.” The post has some good suggestions about how to tone down our response to emotionally charged content on the internet. The approach suggested by the authors is sound and well thought out. It takes the personal attack out of the response. This is a very effective and efficient approach to presenting a different perspective to others without resorting to name calling and increasing the hostility in the interactions.

The same concepts apply to mediation. Here are some suggestions for dealing with arguments in the mediation process:

Don’t take it personally

Often times, when someone says something mean or insensitive to us we tend to take it as a personal attach. While there are times this is true, as a mediator, I’ve found that such comments are usually made because the person making them is trying to protect or defend him or herself (or his or her interests). This is much different from outright attacking the person on the receiving end of the comment.

Don’t attack! Persuade!

A lot of times people believe that it is better to attack, scare & intimidate their opponent in litigation than to work with them toward a solution. While there needs to be a frank discussion about the facts & the law, during mediations, it does not need to be done in an attacking posture. As people, we are all more likely to hear and understand each other, if the discussion is based on facts, rather than on arguments or characterizations.

While there is something to be said about putting your best foot forward in mediation and negotiation, the best way to convince the other side to reach an agreement with you is through persuasion and not intimidation. If the other party does not see value in settling, the case is not likely to settle.

What are some of the things you do to increase the likely hood of settlement in your cases? How has your approach changed?

Shahrad Milanfar

www.californiamediation.pro

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