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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

A picture is worth a thousand mediation news

With the continued backlog of cases mediation is even more so now than ever the best choice to find a resolution for your dispute. Get your dispute resolved now while you can’t go anywhere you can really concentrate on what’s important and what deserves your time and energy.

Northwest Mediation continues to use Zoom, Skype and FaceTime as well as the phone and emails to resolve disputes should we add we also do live in person mediation too! So please do not feel that you cannot contact us if you would like to mediate but wish to do so remotely.

Back from jollies (Menorca was lovely as ever) this week to see what news mediation has in store. I’ll only share that one picture of the view we had from our rather lovely villa as they say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s where we start this week in mediation news.

Ken Shigley argues here that as people tend to retain more of what they see than what they hear or read (80% is he says the accepted wisdom) then visual aids (as I still call graphics) should be used in mediation.

I know when I lecture that people tend to remember the slide of, for instance, Funella the Witch from Chorlton and the Wheelies, when talking about clients referring to a “little old lady”, whether they remember the point of the picture is another matter!

However as Ken adds keep your pictures (or graphics) relevant skull and bones for your bullet points might be fine for lecture at university on poison or pirates (including Barbossa who the guide book tells me had links with Mahon on Menorca) but tend to distract rather than engage and frankly in an inheritance mediation would be plain insulting!

I remember in court in RTAs using toy cars, erasers and pens to show why an accident couldn’t happen the way described and (more memorably) why one witness could not have seen the accident short of having x-ray vision. In mediation the pictures tend to be of the family and tend to be shown to me rather than by me, but as I’ve said before having a picture of the children or deceased in a family/inheritance mediation can be very powerful to remind the parties who we are really focusing on.

I do sometimes think a good MIAM flow chart would be helpful to some clients and I have to say since we’ve been 99% online for the last two years I haven’t got around to finishing mine off, so that’s a task for next week!

One of the few issues we did have whilst away was parking (I know parking problems on an idyllic island are very much first world problems) and you know I can’t resist a plug for neighbour disputes going to mediation well in Scottsdale (Arizona) free neighbour (I guess neighbor would be more correct) mediation is now available.

Any resident can simply text “Mediate” to the right number (mine’s 07931318347) and get help for free from the town’s mediation service. What bothers me is that the service comes from a volunteer mediator. As with my comments about Beachcomber Raab’s idea the week before last, mediation is a profession and it costs a significant amount to get all your badges and keep up your training (let alone the cost of advertising and office space) making it seem like a job done by just volunteers as a an act of goodwill is to devalue the important role of the mediator and frankly to take money out of the hard working mediator practice.

I am pleased the service is being offered but you can’t put yourself through the emotional investment that comes with a good mediation for free. (I’m cheap and I’ll always cut you a deal dear client but I’m nobody’s slave anymore).

And for more on the profession look no further than this interview with Ken Cloke who talks about the importance of engagement and leadership in the mediation practice and that we are coming into the golden era of mediation (I hope so).

The three pillars of mediation remain it’s voluntary, it’s confidential, the mediator is independent, by using those pillars to support your work the parties keep control, save costs, save time and energy and reduce stress. Finally this one is mediation, mediator jointly appointed, areas of discussion agreed and intention to be bound by the outcome.

In person or via electronic media as we’ve said before choose to mediate early and resolve your issues effectively, timeously, and with less stress and costs than going to your solicitor so you can get out choose a different path, not quite the road less travelled but perhaps the path less adversarial. You have an interest in the outcome the sooner you get round the mediation table the quicker you can move forward and avoid the grilling a cross examination in court would put you through.

By having a deep and meaningful discussions with parties the mediator elicits what the true “red-lines” are and where there is the potential for compromise, it is with this structured period of reflection that the parties are then able to reach an accord.

The flexible nature of mediation and the possible outcomes make it an ideal way to resolve disputes in an ever-changing world and the open nature of discussions in mediation whilst remaining confidential allows all sides to engage fully in the process and understand the needs of all involved allowing parties to reach a conclusion which both sides can live with and move on.

There are so many situations which could have been resolved by early intervention of mediation it continues to surprise me the lengths the public will go to avoid referral.

Whether you need a mediator to help out with a construction matter in the Northwest, or council’s plans in Cheshire, a civil mediator in London, a commercial mediator in Manchester, a dispute resolution for your family in Liverpool, a neighbourhood mediation in Stockport, then our mediators at Northwest Mediation can help.

Mediation is cheaper, quicker and less stressful than running any case to court, it can help with any dispute whether it's an employment issue or the sale at an under value of a property, a fight with a neighbour, family issues, commercial disputes, civil mediation or inheritance, wills and probate arguments contact me at Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 or via email at

neighbour mediation; commercial dispute resolution; civil mediation; commercial dispute; corporate dispute; commercial mediator; family mediation; inheritance wills probate mediation; property mediator; civil mediator; civil litigation; fast track mediation; injury mediation

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