Comments: You are the Technique-Notes of a New Mediator

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Victoria Pynchon, Los Angeles CA     04/24/06
Building a Practice for Nancy Who Didn't Leave Her Email Address
Dear Nancy, Welcome to the great wide wild world of mediation. There is, of course, no one-size- fits all advice about building a practice, though I think it best for everyone to “market their backyard,” i.e., sell their services to those they know best in the field they know best. Other than that, here is my “business plan.” 1. Be conscious 2. Be teachable 3. Be of service 4. Always say “yes” to a mediation request 5. Be the exception to the rule To grow the business, you need to first plant its seeds. I did this by 1. giving it a name 2. buying it business cards; and, 3. building it a website (yahoo has a free site-builder that a 12-year old or someone like me over 50 can use without instruction) Nurturing the business, I 1. joined all professional and business organizations in my market 2. took classes that intrigued me 3. volunteered my mediation services to practice my skills 4. talked incessantly about mediation WHENEVER ASKED (soft, not hard, sell) 5. began writing about my new profession and sending my articles to local journals 6. asked people who were already mediating: a. for tips on starting the business; b. if I could observe some of their mediations; and, c. often offered to be of service to them in some way if I could 7. began formally speaking about mediation and negotiation skills, free, as soon as I felt prepared to pass along what I had learned to others 8. attended conferences and workshops 9. took people in my market out to lunch; out for coffee, etc. 10. became engaged in community activities again, in my case, in local peace organizations; and, 11. offered to be of service to the organizations I became a member of – the lowliest little services I could provide – the first being just to pick people up at the airport who were speaking at an annual mediation conference & delivering them to the conference 12. I made TOO MANY PLANS, so that when some of them didn’t pan out it was FINE with me; I had five other plates in the air; this allowed me not to get discouraged if any particular plan didn’t go well Building my network, 1. I paid attention to what people were interested in and offered to hook them up with others who I thought might be able to satisfy their interests 2. as more people introduced me to other people who might be of assistance to me, I connected them up with other people who might be of assistance to them Financing the whole thing, 1. –I lived on my savings 2. I bartered A LOT of my services in exchange for others, i.e., a. I offered to give my web designer the email addresses of people in the mediation field, all of whom could use his good but low priced web services – as a result, he’s STILL providing me web-master services free of charge b. I offered to let other mediators who were in my market participate in my marketing ventures and to share my web site without offering anything in return & they returned my favor a hundred-fold As to reading, I’d pick up ANYTHING Ken Cloke has written (I believe you can buy his books on his web site,, Keeping a journal of your mediations is tremendously helpful. You’ll be amazed at the insights you’ll have about what you did that was RIGHT ON THE MONEY and what you might have done better (or at all). Journal keeping also supplies you with material for writing articles when you’re ready to do that. Surround yourself with people who say “you CAN do it; of course you can do it!!!” Smile nicely at people (the vast majority) who tell you that you’ll never be able to do it because (pick one) -- the field is full; you’re not a lawyer and the lawyers have taken over; you’re too young, old, over-educated, under-educated, etc., etc., etc. Treat them kindly. They’re afraid of life and it frightens them to see you believe in yourself & your own power enough to build a new business. Nurture your spiritual life, whatever it is –exercise, nature, tarot cards, crystals, even the good ol' top three American religions. Practice peace-making in all your affairs. Best of luck to you!! Vickie Pynchon

Dan Dana     04/02/06
An organic paradigm
This personal and well-written article has been selected as the Article of the Month in the April 2006 issue of the MTI Monthly Newsletter, published by the Mediation Training Institute International -- Its central theme reflects the organic paradigm (as distinct from the mechanistic paradigm) in which the mediator recognizes that the solution to the problem is internal to the client/party, not in the external mediator/expert. For a seminar topic outline that contains this concept, visit