Trust, Morality & Mediation

| December 21, 2011 | 0 Comments

I recently came across video below which talks about the role Oxytocin plays in trust & morality.  The concepts in this video are very relevant to mediation and negotiation. Ultimately, as mediators, it is our job to work with the parties to build trust in an ethical & moral way which allows & facilitates communication between the parties. To do this, we must practice Empathy not Sympathy!

Sympathy is defined as:

A feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.

Empathy is defined as:

The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

While the difference is slight, it is very important to keep it in mind. Empathy allows a bit of distance between what’s going on and one’s reaction to it. That distance allows you to take a more balanced approach to helping the parties solve their problems. More importantly, the empathic approach allows mediators to build trust without adding fuel to the fire. As a mediator, you won’t build trust by hugging all the parties, as the video suggests. But, there are specific things you can do to let the parties know that you are there to help them resolve their dispute:

1. Do more listening than talking.

2. Ask lots of questions. But, don’t ask fact based questions.

3. Remember that neutrality is at the core of what mediators do. So, resist the urge to take sides. But, don’t be afraid to play devil’s advocate by asking “what if” questions.

4. Don’t bang heads. It won’t persuade anyone!

Taking this approach will build your credibility and allow you to have a much better chance of guiding the parties toward a succesful mediation / negotiation. It is easier to build concensus thruough trust!

Related posts: The KLT needed to avoid failure in mediation & negotiation

Shahrad Milanfar

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Category: Conflict Resolution, Mediate, Mediation, Mediation Blog, Mediation Courses, Mediation Training, Mediator, Negotiation, Settlement, Shahrad Milanfar, Uncategorized

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