Saturday, January 3, 2009
Journalism and Mediation
I have long been considering the skills of a highly trained journalist to mediation. Last evening, I saw the excellent film, "Frost/Nixon" and it crystallized the analogy for me. Like a journalist, the mediator must be deliberate and well prepared to ask the appropriate questions. A good mediator will also know when to follow up and dig further, and when to remain quiet and still and allow the underlying issues to surface. A good mediator will never gloat when the truth comes out, but rather calmly offer a hand and allow the perspective to be taken by the parties in conflict on their own following the emotional pitch point. A mediator, like a television interviewer, will know when to "lean in" to the conflict, and when the boxing match has turned the score against her, with the upper hand going to the disputants. And above all, a good mediator will know when to wear the Italian loafers to the hearing and when it's necessary to go with lace-ups. I highly recommend you to see the film.