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Does the phrase “seeing is believing” apply to mediation and online mediation as well? We think so.
In many countries, the concept of “mediation” is still unknown or equated to compromise, giving in, meeting the other party (often referred to as “the enemy”) in the middle – nothing to be particularly proud of.
As for the concept of “online mediation”, the situation is even worse. Not only most people don't know what it means (for the reasons explained above); many face-to-face mediators still believe it can't work, it will never work, and refuse even to try it for free.
That's why in our Virtual Mediation Lab, a pilot project sponsored by the Association for Conflict Resolution Hawaii Chapter, we have started producing some videos showing what (online) mediation means and how it works – in different languages http://www.virtualmediationlab.com/videos-2/
Already available in English, French, Spanish and Italian, such videos should be useful to two categories of viewers:
>> Mediation providers – i.e. mediators
>> Mediation users – i.e. HR managers, supervisors, business people, consumers, community leaders, attorneys, law students, and so on.
Not only skeptical face-to-face mediators can now see for themselves how online mediation works and why it can create new market opportunities for them. But when they try to explain in their country the benefits of mediation and get reactions like these:
“In theory, mediation sounds interesting, but I believe it when I see it”
“Yes, I have heard on television that mediation is popular in the USA. But I don't see how it can work here, in our country”
they can now say: Why don't you watch this video? It shows you, in our language, how a neutral mediator like me can help you (and the other party) communicate, and try to resolve your commercial, family or workplace dispute with an agreement that you think is fair, and better – faster and cheaper - than fighting in court.
The More Languages, the Better
Thanks to Skype, we can now run and video record online mediation simulations for any country and in any language. All we need are 3 participants (one of them should be an experienced mediator), with:
>> Fast internet connection>> PC or Mac with a built-in or external webcam, microphone and speakers (or headset), and a free version of Skype, which can be downloaded from their website
Giuseppe Leone is a professional mediator living in Hawaii. Past President of ACR Hawaii, he practices and teaches mediation since 1997 – face-to-face and online. Giuseppe is the Project Manager of “Virtual Mediation Lab”.
The views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Resourceful Internet Solutions, Inc., Mediate.com or of reviewing editors.