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Sharing Personal Stories

December 16, 2014

I like to share personal stories in mediation.

A lawyer the other day remarked that he liked this personal touch very much and he thought that it really helped.

Sometimes, just to break the ice, I talk about my children, of whom I am very proud.

Sometimes I speak of family history in order to emphasize some similarity between the story in mind and the conflict at hand.

(In case you didn’t know, every family has conflict at one time or another.)

Thus, when I need to deliver a message to a disputant, often it can be couched more diplomatically in the stories I tell.

Sometimes, the stories create reciprocity. Let me tell you what I mean.

In mediation, people I have never met before may be called upon to tell me very personal things they would not ordinarily tell a stranger.

If I tell them something personal, often it opens the door to them telling me something personal.

This, more intimate, communication helps us to get to the heart of the matter, so to speak.

Sometimes, just to help create a connection, I speak of my wife’s genealogy hobby in which she is totally consumed and from which she is finding terrific tidbits from the past.

So, when I speak for instance of where one part of the family, or another, originated, sometimes I generate a whole conversation that helps connect us geographically and/or culturally.

I have yet to be able to speak about my ancestor, Arthur Welsh, on my maternal grandfather’s line, who was the first American Jewish Aviator. See, http://www.jhsgw.org/exhibitions/online/arthurwelsh/ .

It’s a fascinating story, and I’ll find a way yet to make it useful.

(Or maybe I just did.)

***

David I. Karp is a full time mediator of real estate and business disputes in Southern California. His website is at http://karpmediation.com .

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