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Beating Skeptics

by Jeff Thompson
January 2011

From Jeff Thompson's Enjoy Mediation Blog

Jeff Thompson


Ever find yourself explaining the mediation, conflict coaching or ombuds process to people who seem to be skeptical of the process?



Okay, if you said no, either you are very new to the field or somehow magically mastered the process of convincing people to love it before you even have to explain it.



For those of you like me, who come across people who are skeptical for various reasons, including not being fully aware of what mediation/coaching/ombuds is or isn't, I found the following article from Dan Rockwell, of the 'Leadership Freak' blog, titled Beating Skeptics.



He offers the following points with my comments added to each:

  • Get To The Point: Yes, I am energetic and sometimes, only sometimes I might be long winded. That is why this reminder is valuable... to me at least!

  • Don't Belittle Yourself Or Hog The Spotlight: Many mediators, including myself, find it hard to take or accept credit for hard work and when it is well-deserved. Finding that middle ground is crucial as it displays confidence to to others and builds it within. If I explain more, this will definitely become more about body language so I will stop.

  • Listen or Don't Ask: How great (yes, I am being sarcastic) is it when someone asks your something yet their eyes seem to follow the imaginary bird flying around in the room? I suggest ask a skeptic a question only if you want an answer.

  • Demonstrate Competence & Acknowledge Incompetence: Yes, this one is tough, specifically the second part. As a mediator and coach, perhaps this is where reality testing comes in?

Read more on this and Dan's explaination [HERE].

Note: picture is from Dan's site.

Biography


Jeff Thompson, Ph.D., is a professor at Lipscomb University, researcher, mediator, and trainer. He is also involved in crisis and hostage negotiation as well as a law enforcement detective. His research includes law enforcement crisis and hostage negotiation in terrorist incidents. He received his doctorate from Griffith University Law School having researched the impact nonverbal communication has in conflict situations with respect to developing rapport, building trust, and displaying professionalism.

Dr. Thompson has presented and trained on the topic of conflict, mediation, (crisis and hostage) negotiation, communication and nonverbal communication internationally for a variety of audiences including police personnel, government officials, judges, attorneys, physicians, sales people, business professionals, and both graduate and undergraduate students. He has also been published in numerous professional and academic publications.

He is the co-chair of ACR's national Crisis Negotiation Section, and he is an ad-hoc reviewer for multiple academic journals. He received his MS in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from the Werner Institute, Creighton University School of Law.

(All posts by Jeff Thompson represent his personal reflections and opinions and not that of any organization.)



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