Keep Calm and Make Peace.
In every mediation, conflict swirls around the mediator, who needs to remain calm. The mediator must be the calm in the storm, the anchor in the wind, the soft words in the harsh reality of the dispute.
For me, the calmness comes from the reduction of stress in my own day.
To avoid the irritation and impatience of Los Angeles traffic, I take public transportation when I can. Taking away the pressure of driving in traffic is the goal.
Of course, one must allow enough time to do this, as the published schedules are merely guidelines.
To allow enough time is to permit oneself patiently to create and to enjoy the slower pace.
Another trick for me is to arrive early to the location of any mediation. I get there in plenty of time to avoid the last minute panic of being late.
I can also review the file and plan the day in this extra time.
I like to get there first so I can greet each participant as he or she arrives.
As each person settles in, I try to speak calmly, in a low tone of voice, as I chat amiably about this or that.
Making small talk eases the tension everyone feels as he or she arrives.
In my opening joint statement (when it is OK to have one), I try to set a pace that is neither too hurried nor too pedestrian. In doing so, I hope to slow the adrenaline induced heart races of those around me without also causing impatience.
All the time now, I see these “signs” or “sayings” on Facebook and elsewhere that read, “Keep Calm [and do this or that].
My sign says, “Keep Calm and Make Peace.”
David I. Karp is a full time mediator of real estate and business disputes in Southern California. More information is available at http://karpmediation.com .