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Jeff Thompson



Jeff Thompson

Jeff Thompson is a certified international mediator. He is also a law enforcement detective in New York City.  He is currently a Research Fellow at Columbia University Law School researching crisis and hostage negotiation as well as other conflict resolution topics. 

His law enforcement work includes a being a communication and conflict specialist, interfaith dialogue, developing and implementing community engagement programs, social media projects, and designing training workshops.

Jeff is also currently a PhD candidate researching nonverbal communication and mediation at Griffith University Law School. He also received his MS in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from the Creighton University School of Law. Jeff has presented and trained on the topic of conflict, mediation, communication and nonverbal communication internationally and has been published and featured with numerous international media organizations. He currently also writes at PsychologyToday.com

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




Contact Jeff Thompson

Website: www.EnjoyMediation.com

Articles and Video:

Harvey Hostage Negotiator's Inside Look at Standoff (09/02/14)
In an ABC7 exclusive, a key hostage negotiator gave Eyewitness News an inside look at how he and others helped bring that suburban standoff in Harvey to a peaceful end.

“Talk To Me”: What It Takes To Be An NYPD Hostage Negotiator (08/18/14)
Crisis and hostage incidents are known for being stressful, unpredictable, tense, anxiety-filled, and emotionally driven. Add to this volatile concoction is that these incidents often can involve violence that has been threatened or having already occurred. Amidst these chaotic incidents New York City Police Department hostage negotiators emerge to provide the antidote to the ensuing turbulence.

Angry Faces Win Negotiations (07/12/14)
Research has found that facial expressions can convey more information than verbal communication alone and a new Harvard University study has found that an angry glare can add effectiveness to a negotiator’s demands.

Quick Tip: Hostage Negotiator's Tone of Voice (06/03/14)
Crisis and hostage negotiator's are involved in situations that are tense, stressful, and anxiety-filled. In order to try to reduce the overwhelming emotions being experienced by the person they are trying to help, the negotiator's tone of voice is an important tool that can help move the conversation toward a peaceful resolution.

Conflict is Contagious (05/16/14)
Mediators, coaches, negotiators, and ombuds- your verbal and nonverbal actions are contagious. As "guides" in assisting people involved in conflicts and disputes, you can help or hinder them on their journey.

From Reading the Body Language of Animals To Crisis Negotiator (05/09/14)
Heather Cote of the Strafford County Sheriff’s Office may be only 5-feet, 4-inches tall, but that doesn’t stop her from detaining men twice her size.

Crisis Negotiation (05/02/14)
Secret Skills of Crisis Hostage Negotiators: Slow Down. If slowing things down works for crisis hostage negotiators, read to see if it can help you too.

“Crisis” or “Hostage” Negotiation? The Distinction Between Two Important Terms (04/04/14)
The terms crisis and hostage are commonly used to refer to intense negotiations. The distinction between the two terms is important to understand. This is a pictographic explaining the difference.    1 Comment

Practices of Effective Negotiators (03/28/14)
This article includes multiple ideas and resources for negotiators. There are great tips for improving your skills.

What Role Does the Environment Have In Negotiation & Mediation? (03/14/14)
If you had a choice in how to set up your mediation or negotiation room, how would it look? I asked, as part of my PhD research at Griffith University Law School (I'm research nonverbal communication and mediation), this question.

Student Writing Competition in ADR (02/11/14)
Here's a great opportunity for current students- the annual Student Writing Competition in ADR organized by the Association for Conflict Resolution for Greater New York (ACR-GNY) and generously sponsored by the JAMS Foundation will be held once again this year.

Negotiation Experience is Not Expertise (01/31/14)
10,000 hours. That is the amount frequently cited as the number of hours it requires to be an expert in something. Is there a difference between an being experienced negotiator and an expert?

Hey Kid, Stop Using Twitter During Negotiation Standoff (01/24/14)
Social media has increasingly become part of crisis and hostage situations. The role social media ranges from messages being posted by the subject leading up to the incident, the subject and victims posting during the incident as well as the police, and finally the police sharing information post-incident.

The "Little Things" That Go On During A Mediation (01/24/14)
The brain “sees” objects that you don’t perceive. This article teaches you to consider the impact of all of the "Little Things" that go on during a mediation.

Should Governments Negotiate With Terrorists? (01/18/14)
The priority of governments after a terrorist attack is to ensure the safety of the population, stabilize the state, and make sure that no other attacks will follow. Debates about whether governments should enter talks with terrorists produce a lot of heat, but a unanimous decision is never reached, mainly because of the emotional aftershock of an attack.

5 Tips on Measuring Negotiation Effectiveness (01/04/14)
Progress is not always easy to measure during a negotiation, mediation, or an attempted collaboration. Sure, it is easy to measure lack of progress as it is laden with clear negative emotions and also the lack of a resolution or jointly decided upon conclusion but positive progress is not as easily defined.

The Pirate Negotiator (12/20/13)
Ali Mohamed Ali faces life in prison on piracy-related charges. But is he a criminal mastermind or a Good Samaritan? The truth is likely something in between.

Listening, Empathizing, and Building Negotiation Rapport to Handle Crisis (12/07/13)
For professional negotiators, honing ones skills occurs through the sharing of best practices. Crisis negotiators gain valuable knowledge through every interaction and presentation, and learned that even if the negotiator arrives fully prepared and does everything right, the suspect might still harm himself or others.

For Mediators and Arbitrators - In This Corner: Behavioral Change Stairway Model (12/03/13)
What is destroyed most in high tension situations is trust, and without trust, things will break down very quickly. When they do, they are replaced by increased anxiety and confusion, destroying the participants’ ability to make good, long-term decisions. It is the negotiator’s presence that keeps the trust intact.

Police Dept. Purchases Drone For Hostage Negotiations (12/02/13)
Since 2011, the Brunswick Police Department has had a drone on hand for “hostage negotiations,” funded by a grant from the federal Justice Department.

4 Secrets for Winning the Toughest Negotiations (10/18/13)
"Let's send Richardson," President Bill Clinton once said, according to Bill Richardson, a former Clinton cabinet member. "Bad people like him."


From Jeff Thompson (10/14/13)
I congratulate Mediate.com on yet another wonderful milestone! Reaching its 500th edition, the Mediate.com Weekly shows that quality does not suffer with quantity. Each week The Weekly is something that I have relied on as it offers content that has benefited me with my research and that as a practitioner. Thank you and keep it up- here's to another 500 (and more)!

Government Shutdown Tip: Build A Golden Bridge (10/04/13)
Build a golden-what? What does a bridge, no less a 'golden' one, have to do with mediation and negotiation and congress? Well, the term is from William Ury's book, Getting Past No.

View from the Middle of the Road: Book Review (08/23/13)
Jan Frankel Schau’s View From The Middle Of The Road: A Mediator’s Perspective On Life, Conflict, and Human Interaction passes the three litmus tests for a good book. Reviewer Jeff Thompson explains why this book is a must-read for mediators.

Hostage & Crisis Negotiators: Nonverbal Communication Basics (08/13/13)
Learn the skills used by these expert negotiators and how it can help you. Law enforcement crisis and hostage negotiators are world-renowned for their ability to apply expert conflict resolution and communication skills in situations that are tense, (potentially) volatile, and where lives can be at risk.    2 Comments

Farah Pandith TEDx Boston Talk: "Dismantle" Hate With "Counter-Narratives" (07/19/13)
Watch this TEDx Boston event featuring peace and conflict resolution promoter, Farah Pandith. She is also the first ever US Department of State Special Representative to Muslim Communities. She talks about the global Muslim youth community, perspectives, and particularly the diversity of what it means to be Muslim.

Public Diplomacy Opportunities Arise When Conflict Resolution Is Applied (06/18/13)
U.S. Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine explains how public diplomacy, through the use of conflict resolution skills, embraces both soft and hard power to create a "smart power". Although it is not an easy task, success is possible through collaborative efforts.

Judging Others Even If You Don't Realize It (05/28/13)
Below I share, and will continue to do so from time to time, some comments from my key informants. This part of my research utilizes ethnography as means of exploring nonverbal communication and mediation.

Empathy is the Secret Weapon (04/12/13)
Having the ability to combat hate requires skills that are also necessary of mediators and other conflict professionals.  One such skill is empathy. It is important to note empathy does not require agreeing but more importantly it gives you insight as you move from the way you “see” things to “see” the situation or issue from a different perspective. 

Negotiation: Body Language, Baselines, & Baloney (04/01/13)
If you add up the little things in negotiation they can make a big difference. Next time you are involved in a negotiation, consider preparing first and make sure it includes setting your own goals, establishing their baseline, being away of their actions, and bring a partner along too.    1 Comment

Seek First To Understand (03/08/13)
We often talk about “intuitive” abilities, and I even recall writing once in one of our online posts for the MS NDR program at Creighton, that the more you learn, the better stocked your “intuitive arsenal” is. I thus found myself applying skills that felt completely intuitive, although they are ones I only learned over the past 18 months, and were far from intuitive prior to entering the program.

Mediator's Tweet Gets Him "Iced" from Case (12/14/12)
I am definitely an unofficial advocate of conflict resolution professionals using and embracing technology for all different reasons. This includes keeping up to date with news and research, networking, and raising awareness of your name and services.

The President Is A Mediator & Publicly Endorses It (11/30/12)
Yes, with the title I deserve to be writing headlines for the NY Post, and no, I am not lying I'm just referring to the President of India. People on the Greater New York area dispute resolution community listserv recently had a great discussion on the media's lack of knowledge between the difference of mediation and arbitration.

Book Review: Stories Mediators Tell (10/26/12)
Mediation is often promoted as an alternative to the win/lose process of litigation. One of the trademarks and selling points of mediation is confidentiality. Confidentiality has many benefits, but it also creates a cloud of mystery around mediation. Clearing away this cloud and giving a clear view and understanding of what really goes on during mediation sessions is the new book, “Stories Mediators Tell,” edited by Eric R. Galton and Lela P. Love. The book offers insight from seasoned and expert mediators, in the form of stories, each of whom have handled hundreds (some of them thousands) of cases.    1 Comment

UN Launches Guidance to Ensure Effective Conflict Mediation (10/02/12)
“This Guidance is a relevant reference document not just for mediators but for all actors involved in mediation,” Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said at the high-level launch held in New York City on the sidelines of the General Debate of the 67th session of the General Assembly.

Using Metaphors With Coaching, Mediation & Negotiation (09/21/12)
Metaphors are easily overlooked yet they possess an incredible amount of power. The use of metaphors during conflict can either help parties move towards resolution or compound differences and push the interaction further along the downward spiral of negative conflict.

Mediation & Arbitration Are The Same (07/17/12)
According to a recent New York Times- "the newspaper of record"- mediation and arbitration are one in the same. I came across this information on the very popular and very informative New York Dispute Resolution Community Listserv. The listserv as a side note has +2,000 members and is not limited to New York area people.

Mediators Instead of Police? (05/07/12)
A new report, ordered after last year’s student protests on the UC Berkley campus resulting in the pepper-spraying of nonviolent student protesters that received global media coverage, has resulted in 50 recommendations over 133 pages. The report details recommendations on how to prepare and respond for similar situations in the future.

Book Review: Conflict and Charisma (04/02/12)
A book review of the new book on Charisma by Olivia Fox Cabane. If you are interested in increasing your ability to be charismatic in your conflict resolution work, this book will give you direct skills to use in a style that will have you believing (and practicing) starting with the introduction and increasing with each chapter.

First Impressions & Thin Slices (03/26/12)
If first impressions are so important in a variety of interactions and professions, what role could it play in mediation sessions? These first impressions are based on, and often are accurate yet done subconsciously, nonverbal communication cues and elements. Consider: Did you shake hands of both of the parties when you first met them?

Hire Me: I Won't Leak in Flight (01/30/12)
What are the odds of me being hired if this was my big selling point as a professional mediator? Think about it, you really do want to be a good summarizer, right?

New Data Allows for Unique Conflict Research (01/02/12)
The dataset (UCDP GED) is the outcome of approximately 2.5 years of work, engaging some 15 researchers and assistants. It contains information on some 24 000 unique events and includes all three types of armed conflict (state-based, non-state, and one-sided violence) on the African continent between 1989 and 2010. This dataset is compatible with a number of software utilities for statistical analysis and GIS software.

Using Semiotics With Conflict Resolution (11/21/11)
Below is my newest article on semiotics and nonverbal communication. Of course the 'spin' from the mediation and the conflict resolution perspective is, in order to be effective at helping and guiding parties who are involved in conflicts and disputes, we must be cognitive of all the elements that exist.


From Jeff Thompson (10/11/11)
Congratulations on reaching this wonderful milestone! I am happy to be part of this as an author and featured blogger. Having my articles and blog posts featured on Mediate.com has created numerous relationships with conflict professionals all over the world. I would not have been able to engage many of these people, both as an author and reader, without Mediate.com. Thank you and I look forward to reading and submitting many more articles!

Occupy Wall Street Protest: Collaborators in Peace- Not Against It (10/03/11)
As someone who has been there multiple days, I can attest to the powerful and peaceful nature of basically all the people present at Zucotti Square- the proper name of the "Occupy Wall Street's" location.

AudioBlog: Religious Diversity: Did You Know? (09/26/11)
The four panelists will speak from their perspective of their particular faith including the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh faiths giving conflict resolution professionals and practitioners important knowledge that applies directly to their work. This includes: information on core beliefs, clothing, physical contact and more.

Body Language of International Negotiations (09/19/11)
I came across the following article recently which explored the use of body language in a laboratory setting of Chinese and Canadian participants.

AudioBlog: Business Marketing for Mediators (08/13/11)
During the Webinar we will highlight the important relationship between focused and clear business values and purpose and sustained business success Identify the keys to building a strategy for your business that meets your needs and interests, including discuss some of the methodologies and tools that drive alignment between what you want and what you do: “the knowing-doing gap”.

You Did What With Your Hands? (08/08/11)
Jeff Thompson shares his expertise and thoughts on a subject that will apply to coaches of all niches who meet clients (and potential clients) face to face.

AudioBlog: Speed Dialogue With Beth Katz of Project Interfaith (07/25/11)
Join host Jeff Thompson and Beth Katz, founder and executive director of Project Interfaith- an organization dedicated to raising respect, awareness and understanding between people of all faiths.

Reflective Practice for Mediators (07/18/11)
Being a reflective practitioner is critical to being an effective mediator, ombuds, conflict coach, and any other conflict resolution role.

Conflict Resolution Commandos? (07/05/11)
Imagine back in 2010 if instead of masked men with guns, trained for intense warfare at sea, boarding a ship in the dead of night, the IDF had dispatched an elite unit of conflict resolution specialists.

Semiotics & Mediation (05/29/11)
I thought the following presentation would be of interest to fellow mediators and others working in conflict. It explains the semiotic perspective on nonverbal communication.

"Free" Coffee and Rapport (05/16/11)


Dynamics of Conflict Resolution (05/09/11)


Mediation Failures to be Blamed on Chairs (05/02/11)
Next time your fantastic mediation skills failed to guide your parties to settlement, it might be the chair’s fault.    5 Comments

Interfaith Mediation (05/02/11)
My two main job professions is working in mediation/conflict resolution and law enforcement. One of my primary tasks working as a Detective in the NYPD is doing interfaith work the many different religious groups in New York City.

Seven (Sometimes Surprising) Facts About Mediation (04/11/11)
Ever wonder how I get all the news and mediation related stories for EnjoyMediation.com and ADRhub.com? One of the ways is going to news.google.com and search keywords such as "mediation."

What Your Body is Saying About You (03/21/11)
FROM hairstyles to handshakes, non-verbal communication can say a lot about what a person is thinking or feeling.

ABA Task Force's 4 Elements On Quality Mediators (03/14/11)
The four elements found to be essential to effective mediations were: * Preparation by the mediators, counsel and parties; * Customization of the mediation process for the specific dispute; * Use of analytical techniques by the mediator; and * Patience, persistence and active engagement by the mediator.

5 Negotiating Tips For First Time Home Buyers (02/21/11)
Homeownership is a big step and it is important to make sure that you approach it wisely. When you do find the home that you are looking for, there is often the opportunity to negotiate a price that is lower than the list price. You need to know what you are doing, however, because negotiating poorly can cause you to lose the home that you truly want.

ODR Blog: ODR, By Any Other Name… Join the hunt? (01/31/11)
Enjoy this guest post by Noam Ebner, Chair of the Online Masters Program in Negotiation & Dispute Resolution at the Werner Institute, School of Law, Creighton University (disclaimer: of which I am a graduate). Below his article, you can read my comments- Enjoy!

Read. Engage. Learn... Are You In? (01/24/11)
I would like to let everyone know I am going to take part in the ADR Book Club http://adrhub.com/group/adrbookclub starting February 6th, 2011. The idea and concept behind the book club is to bring various conflict resolution professionals, academics, students and practitioners together. I am not making money on this, nor is any group or organization (well, except for the the authors who write the books). This is simply an opportunity for all us to learn and be better at helping others in conflict. Will you join me?

Have You Reflected Lately? (For Mediators, Coaches and Ombuds) (01/17/11)
After reading Alex Yaroslavsky's recent blog post titled "The Value of Language," I thought about reflection and debriefing. It is something I think is very valuable and is critical for mediators to do in order to learn and develop into a more effective mediator.

Beating Skeptics (01/03/11)
Ever find yourself explaining the mediation, conflict coaching or ombuds process to people who seem to be skeptical of the process?

Elder-Care Mediation Expands, Some Embarrassed To Admit It (12/27/10)
I have been noticing more articles on elder-care mediation and found this one interesting and wanted to pass it along to everyone

Yes, And: Core Concerns, Internal Mindfulness, And External Mindfulness For Emotional Balance, Lie Detection, and Successful Negotiation (12/13/10)
I just finished reading a paper by Clark Freshman in the Nevada Law Journal. I suggest you give it a read as well as the other papers which also look interesting (SYMPOSIUM: MINDFULNESS, EMOTIONS, AND ETHICS IN LAW AND DISPUTE RESOLUTION) but I have yet to get a chance to read them. Below I have highlighted some sections which stood out for me:

Discernment (12/06/10)
Discernment (Lantern Books), the title of Buddhist nun Venerable Yifa’s new book, provides the mediator and other ADR practitioners a valuable tool to add to their ‘ADR toolbox’.

A Mediator At The Climate Bazaar (MBB!) (12/06/10)
Kudos to Mediators Beyond Borders (of which I am a member!) and board member Alan Gross: He gives a great explaination on how mediation can be involved in climate discussions, watch below and read the article.... then leave a comment here!

Not Facing People Makes Them Comfortable? (11/22/10)
I went the other day to an espresso bar (yes, I am a full-on coffee/espresso snob now!) and noticed something that I had to blog on. Being the massive observer of body language and nonverbal communication that I claim to be, I noticed the two people next to me. I snapped this photo discretely (they did not notice) on my mobile phone as I was completely shocked at how the entire time I was there, he sat sideways. Occasionally he crossed his legs. HE NEVER FACED HER directly.

Mediators To Be Fined For Body Language? (11/08/10)
American football team the New York Jets will be fining star quarterback Mark Sanchez each time he slumps his shoulders, hangs his head down or trudges off the practice field. The most interesting thing about this unique fining system is it was not the front office or coaching staff that created this- it was Sanchez! He has made it his goal this season to eliminate his negative body language and the fining system for infringements is a way for him to remain mindful of when negative gestures are performed.

Mindfulness And Body Language (10/04/10)
While traveling in Australia, primarily for holidays, those who know me know I always manage to do some work too! With that said, last week I gave a talk at Southern Cross University's Lismore campus which was also broadcasted to two other campuses (hooray for technology!). The topic was on basic nonverbal verbal communication- how to use it properly and also how to identify certain gestures used by others.

Is The Conflict Specialist A Leader? (09/20/10)
Parallel to the emergence of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as a field, in the last few decades there is a growing body of literature on “Leadership” as a separate field with a set of skills and traits that can be taught. This is not the only resemblance to the ADR field; themes advanced in leadership literature and trainings have a lot in common with those advanced in ADR:

Conflict Resolution For Kids (09/13/10)
I found this today and thought it would be a fun read for those mediators out their with children!

Bully Boss Or Just A Tough Cookie? (08/30/10)
I came across this great article by Kathleen Schulweis posted at www.Examiner.com. It details how managers should look internally and at themselves when there seems to be conflict with those who work under them.

Bullying Responses (08/23/10)
A new book by an Australian expert on bullying in schools has set out six methods used by teachers to tackle this scourge of the playground.

Questions Hover Over Popular Ombudsman Program (08/16/10)
Usually, committee meetings in Sacramento are pretty sparsely attended affairs. You have committee members listening, bill presenters talking and sometimes as many as half a dozen lobbyists stepping up to briefly weigh in. But at a recent Senate Health Committee hearing, when it came time for people to enter their support into the record, the line of advocates went far past the usual half-dozen -- it stretched all the way to the back of the chamber, where a knot of people waited to join the queue. They were all there to state their support for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.

Co-Op/Condo Ombudsman Bill In NYS Senate (08/09/10)
I came across this interesting article stating there is currently a bill in the New York State Senate proposing the creation of an Ombudsman for co-ops and condos in the state.

Long Term Care Ombudsman (08/02/10)
Judith Sullivan, 66, is a volunteer with the Coulee Region Volunteer Ombudsman Program for the Wisconsin Board on Aging and Long Term Care. Once a week she knocks on the doors of resident rooms at Bethany St. Joseph Care Center in La Crosse. She asks about the food, the staff and their overall well-being. She typically hears no complaint. But, when residents have a problem, she isn’t afraid to tell the administration.

WSJ: New ADR Services For Healthcare Field (07/26/10)
To cut medical-malpractice costs, five New York City hospitals have agreed to a pilot program to divulge medical mistakes early, offer settlements quickly and use special state "health courts,' where judges will help negotiate agreements before cases go to trial.

New Gorilla Experiment! (07/19/10)
This is absolute gold for mediation and conflict resolution trainers!

Mediators' "Defining" Moment! (07/19/10)
Looking for a defining opportunity for you (and our profession) to be heard? Here's one such opportunity brought to you by NAFCM: the National Association For Community Mediation.

Ireland- Lawyers Urged To 'Buy Into' Mediation (07/12/10)
he Chief Justice and many other judges have expressed their support for the wider use of mediation in family law – and, indeed, other – disputes, and provision now exists in the Commercial Court for cases to be adjourned for mediation. The Legal Aid Board has taken steps to increase use of mediation by its solicitors. Yet the proportion of family law cases being mediated remains low, partly because of lingering suspicion of the process among lawyers.

BP Looking To Shut Down Ombuds Office! (07/05/10)
BP has been trying to shut down an internal safety watchdog agency it set up under congressional pressure four years ago, according to sources close to the office and a leading congressman.

Cyberbullying Law Promotes Mediation (06/28/10)
A leading cyber-bullying expert has warned the Government's new laws must be backed up with proper cyber-bullying training for mediators.

Washington Post: Congress Needs Mediation (06/21/10)
In today's Washington Post, L. Michael Hager writes about the ever present disfunction of Congress and it it could help if it had a service where a third party neutral helps each party identify the issues and then explore possible solutions which meet, at least partially, each of their needs. He or she helps them make their own decision to determine what is best for them- given the situation.

Mediation & Communication Lacking With Franchisees (06/07/10)
A study by Griffith University into franchise conflict has revealed the need for better communication between franchisors and their franchisees. The study, which was funded by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Research Council, examined the relationship between franchisees and franchisors and the causes of conflict between the two groups. 350 franchisees from Australia responded.

New Idea For Conflict Resolution? (05/31/10)
Called "PAX", the idea is to gather SMS, images and video from the general public in areas of conflict (in the style of FrontlineSMS and Ushahidi), and combine that with satellite imagery to form a massive open database that could be accessed to help pressure key governments and others into preventative action.

Congrats Jim & Mediate.com, It Is Well Deserved! (04/19/10)
The video below is a 10 minute video that shows Jim Melamed's acceptance (on behalf of Mediate.com) of the ABA Problem Solver of the Year Award on April 9 at the ABA DR Section Conference in San Francisco.

Selective Perception (04/12/10)
One of the many ‘evil’ traits that frequently are displayed by parties in mediation is selective perception. People form their own idea of an event or situation and then anything that is said or information that arises after the fact which contradicts their opinion is dismissed or ignored.

10 Tips For Dealing With Conflict (04/05/10)
John M. McKee, founder and CEO of BusinessSuccessCoach.net, put together 10 Tips & Tactics for Dealing With Conflict which I think will help ADR professionals- as a mediator, ombuds, coach, advocate, etc.- better prepare themselves as well as clients for conflict prevention and resolution. For John's full explanation of the list, click the link below to go to the original posting. The added information here are my own thoughts and views.

Elder Mediation (03/29/10)
Not sure if anyone saw this in the Wall Street Journal, but recently there was an article in it on Elder Mediation in California.

(Proactive) Foreclosure Mediation Bill (03/22/10)
From my understanding (and of course I could be wrong!) this is the first proposed Bill that is actually proactive in trying to prevent the filing for foreclosure. In the other 25 states, the foreclosure mediation programs provide mediation services after the house has gone into foreclosure.

Police & Community Mediation (03/22/10)
The San Francisco Police Department's Chief of Police, George Gascon, recently met with the local Community Board to praise their efforts in helping resolve disputes.

Mediation & People With Disabilities (03/15/10)
For those who miss the monthly NYC-DR Roundtable Breakfast meetings sponsored by ACRGNY and John Jay College due to schedules (yes, we are all very busy conflict resolvers) or due to locations (I guess everyone doesn't live in New York City!), I plan to write a recap of each gathering I attend.

Q & A With Charles L. Howard (03/08/10)
I recently interviewed Charles L. Howard, author of The Organizational Ombudsman. I discussed with Chuck (he let me call him that) different aspects of the book, his motivation and how it can help you- if you are an ombuds, conflict professional, or someone interested in creating an ombuds office for your university or organization.

Mediation Killed?!? (03/01/10)
R.D. Benjamin’s latest article at www.Mediate.com, regarding mediation being 'killed' hooked me into reading it, partially perhaps due to my law enforcement background plus for my love of mediation and not wanting it to be ‘killed’!

Adaptability & Fried Pickles (02/22/10)
Adaptability and having an open mind is something as a mediator and conflict resolver I am always reminding parties or clients to keep in mind while they negotiate or plan their next interaction with another party.

Body Language In Mediation (02/15/10)
As a mediator, and conflict specialist, I believe it is incredibly important to be mindful of my own nonverbal communication actions as well as the non-verbal cues used by the parties present. One thing I have taken recent interest in learning more is the different nonverbal actions and what they generally mean. I use “generally” as just like there is not a concrete set of mediation rules and steps for every case, so is the same for nonverbal actions.

New Ombuds Book Out (02/08/10)
For those interested in the ombudsman role and perhaps thinking of entering the field, this book surely is a must, right? I am trying to get my hands on one to do a book review but be warned... Chuck Howard's "The Organizational Ombudsmen" is 600+ pages! Hey, to be a (good) ombuds, you must have a full understanding of everything and anything ombuds and ADR related so get reading!

Q Card Series (2) (02/01/10)
John Wade, and the brilliant team at Bond University’s Dispute Resolution Centre, have a wonderful collection of “Q-Cards” which are great little golden nuggets of information to help all dispute and conflict specialists. The Q Card series are all the business card size so very convenient and easy to take with you.

Family Mediation Pilot Gets Mixed Results (01/25/10)
This article I think is worth reading for many reasons- and beyond just for family mediators. Issues such as saving, accrediting mediators and determining success is not limited to court mediations surrounding family issues.

Ombuds News (01/18/10)
A review of ombuds news from around the world!

Feelings! (01/04/10)
Feelings and emotions are an integral part of any mediation or negotiation. When I give talks or training on mediations involving money disputes, such as credit-card debt cases (read the Newsweek article here), people think it is cut and dry- go back and forth on offers and either there is a deal or no deal.

UN To Create Security Council Ombudsman & New Mediation Division Launched (12/28/09)
Recently the United Nation's Security Council announced it will created an Ombudsman Office. This position is being created specifically in response to concerns over its own No Fly List.

CyberSettle & The NYC Government (12/28/09)
According to the NYC Comptroller's officer, in about a four year period (February '04 through June '08) over 3,000 claimscases were settled using the CyberSettle site.

Emotions In Negotiation (12/14/09)
Interested in leaving emotions out of your mediation or negotiation? Go ahead mate- let me know how that works out for you!

Bond University Q Card Series (12/07/09)
John Wade, and the brilliant team at Bond University’s Dispute Resolution Centre, have a wonderful collection of “Q-Cards” which are great little golden nuggets of information to help all dispute and conflict specialists. The Q Card series are all the business card size so very convenient and easy to take with you.

Conflict (11/30/09)
Conflict- it goes without saying we need to understand it in order to help others engage and possible resolve it. It is important to know that people respond to conflict based on their experiences and their knowledge of conflict. Their knowledge includes how they were taught how to deal with conflict.

Guest Blogger 09- Jose Pascal da Rocha (11/23/09)
Please enjoy the following submission as the fifth installment of the 2009 Guest Blogger series. Today's guest blogger is Jose Pascal da Rocha. Honestly, there is too much to say about Pascal I wouldn't know where to begin. For example, ask where he has been and I think the answer is, "Yes, twice." Like my other guest bloggers, I am happy to present his submission for everyone to enjoy. You can read more about him [here].

Good Job Ari! (11/09/09)
Honorable Mention was awarded to Ari Fontecchio of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law for his essay entitled “Naming, Framing and Taming: Why Timing and Emotional Intelligence Really Matter in Crisis Intervention. Ari interviewed me months ago on how I, along with the entire NYPD Community Affairs Bureau, used various conflict resolution skills during the emotionallly charged Tibetan Protests in New York City during the Spring of 2008.

Guest Blogger 2009: Alex Yaroslavsky (11/09/09)
Please enjoy the following submission as the second installment of the 2009 Guest Blogger series. Today's guest blogger is Alex Yaroslavsky. Alex is the all-rounder ADR professional as he is the founder of the Yaro Group, teachers at CUNY John Jay, mediates with CCRB and is a member of FINRA and NYCLA.

Did You Miss The ODR Cyber Week :Web 2.0: Going From Oh? To Know (11/09/09)
Well, You are in luck as the archive has been posted below. You can forever listen to me (Jeff Thompson) moderate a panel of the web's best ADR professionals:

Don't Be Scared- Embrace F.E.A.R.S.! (11/02/09)
Bryan Hanson, Assistant Director at the Werner Institute of Creighton University a couple of months gave a presentation on, "An Introduction to Active Listening Skills" in which he provided the audience with the acronym F.E.A.R.S.

Guest Blogger 09- Noam Ebner On The Second Generation Negotiation Conference (10/26/09)
It’s not every day that you get to see a discipline in motion. Changes in the way that academics and professional practitioners grasp themselves and what they do are usually minor and incremental; by the time major change has evolved, many of the original instigators are no longer around to enjoy it. Watching a field collectively consider itself and begin to move, therefore, is like observing a rare natural occurrence, Or, perhaps, like being on a glacier as it shifts. You feel very fortunate to have been there to see it, and you wonder where you are now and how you make your way home. These were some of the thoughts I had while attending the Second Generation Negotiation conference which took place on October 14-17, 2009 in Istanbul. To understand just what this special conference was about, one needs to put it in the context of the project surrounding it.

New Program Promotes Peace (10/19/09)
A new program aimed at bringing more peace to the world is off to a strong start with representatives from Queensland Police Service, New York City Police Department (NYPD) and members of the public gathering last week at Robina Community Centre on the Gold Coast to discuss how to best promote community relations and tackle conflict in the community.

Guest Blogger: Jessica Carter, Kiwi Mediator Extraordinaire (10/12/09)
I spotted Malcolm Gladwell’s recent bestseller, ‘Outliers’ at a bookstore at JFK just after April’s ABA Conference in New York and I suspect I’ve joined a group of travellers that have happened upon it in the same way. It grabbed my attention as I browsed, on the lookout for a good read on a long journey, and it promised to tell ‘The Story of Success’.

Facilitator Tips (10/05/09)
I recently came across Penn State's website and when searching "conflict resolution", I found this gem of a page. It gives various tips and questions to consider when issues arise within a working group/team. The tips listed are easily transferable for a facilitator who is planning to bring a group together.

Guest Blogger: D.A. Graham, Princeton Ombudsman (09/28/09)
Please enjoy the following submission as the first installment of the 2009 Guest Blogger series. D.A. Graham is the ombudsman from Princeton University.

Foreclosure Mediation Round-up (09/14/09)
As foreclosure mediation become more and more prominent, I thought I would dedicate today's post to various, current, new articles.

NYPD Commissioner Kelly Encourages Mediation (09/07/09)
Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today urged uniformed members of the service to avail themselves of the Civilian Complaint Review Board mediation process as a non-disciplinary way to resolve complaints against them. Mediated complaints do not become part of an officer’s record.

Interview & 'Blog of the Month' (09/07/09)
Los Angeles based mediator Steve Mehta, of the famous Mediation Matters Blog and the book 112 Ways to Succeed in Any Negotiation or Mediation, interviewed me while he was visiting New York City back in July. He somehow found the time to edit the interview (very brilliantly) and posted it on his blog to which I am gratefully appreciative of him for doing that. Have a look and I hope you enjoy it.

New Niche Market For ADR Professionals? (08/31/09)
For those not sure if the foreclosure mediation programs popping in numerous states is a market for mediators to make some income, think again. All one has to do is look at Nevada, which has the highest foreclosure rate in the nation.

ABA Section Chair, Homer LaRue (08/24/09)
I recently conducted a Q & A via email with JAMS neutral Homer LaRue (pictured left), Esq. who is the new Chairperson for the American Bar Association’s Section on Dispute Resolution. The Q & A was originally published at www.EnjoyMediation.com.

The NYPD & The Three C’s: Communication, Community & Cricket (08/23/09)
Often when I speak about conflict and dispute resolution I mention three words that I consider to be my mantra in regards to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Communication, Understanding and Peace are what I strive to create in all my interactions, be it as a mediator, conflict coach, consultant, or as a police officer in the New York City Police Department.

Non Attorney Mediators- Not Welcome?!? (08/10/09)
Recently someone said having mediators on court mediation rosters be limited to those who are also an attorney was a reasonable rule. I do not agree. I vehemently disagree.    1 Comment

Kiwi Mediators To Get $3,000 A Day! (08/10/09)
Last month Justice Minister Simon Power and Courts Minister Georgina Te Heuheu announced that the High Court in Auckland would introduce a pilot scheme that would see private mediators undertake court-ordered mediation in some civil disputes.

112 Ways to Succeed in Any Negotiation or Mediation (Book Review) (08/03/09)
Steve Mehta, already an accomplished mediator and ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) blogger, has decided to take on the title of author for his latest project. 112 Ways to Succeed in Any Negotiation or Mediation is the title of his debut as an author and to those who know him, it comes as no surprise that Mehta has provided us with a valuable resource.    1 Comment

Mediation Is Confidential...Right? (08/03/09)
This article is definitely worth a read. Both parties agreed to waive the confidentiality agreement during a court proceeding but the mediator still refused to provide a witness statement.

Q & A With Steve Mehta (07/27/09)
I recently corresponded via email with Steve Mehta, mediator and blogger, and asked him some questions about his upcoming book, 112 Ways to Succeed In Any Negotiation Or Mediation as well as some other questions on current ADR topics. Below you will find the unedited answers, enjoy!

Cool As A Cucumber (07/20/09)
Practice what you preach. Be the change you want to see in others. Change starts with you. The above statements are all commonly heard throughout our ADR lives. Today, I suggest reflecting on them in the capacity of being “Cool As A Cucumber”. Before and during heated exchanges or outburst in a negotiation, as the negotiator and possibly more importantly as the mediator, displaying a calm and cool demeanor has the ability to de-escalate the situation.

The Reflective Practitioner: Do I Understand Myself? (07/13/09)
Are you a reflective practitioner? There are many benefits to the various types of conflict resolvers- mediators, negotiators, conflict coaches, conflict skills trainers, ombudsman, etc.

Online Dispute Resolution (07/06/09)
Recently I had a conversation with someone in regards to Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) and how the person thought it had less human interaction compared to traditional ADR methods. I responded saying I actually think instead of viewing as ‘less’ or ‘more’, it is another choice for the parties. ODR is a new form of human interaction.

ACRG-NY July Recap: World Bank’s Office of Mediation Services (07/06/09)
For those who miss the monthly NYC-DR Roundtable Breakfast meetings sponsored by ACRGNY and John Jay College due to schedules (yes, we are all very busy conflict resolvers) or due to locations (I guess everyone can not be in New York City), I plan to write a recap of each gathering I attend. I hope you enjoy, and feedback is always welcome!

Selective Perception (06/29/09)
One of the many ‘evil’ traits that frequently are displayed by parties in mediation is selective perception. People form their own idea of an event or situation and then anything that is said or information that arises after the fact which contradicts their opinion is dismissed or ignored.

Friday News Round Up (06/29/09)
The latest from Jeff!

Keeping The Parties Informed (06/22/09)
The mediation process is sometimes followed in the steps you had all planned out and sometimes it goes in a completely different direction. Regardless, planning ahead and making sure you have each step in your mind can be extremely beneficial.

Mediate.com Certification Follow Up (06/15/09)
In a follow up to my post, Jim Melamed, CEO of Mediate.com replied to the questions and concerns I raised. Below, and with his permission, I am posting his unedited reply.

Attribution Bias (06/15/09)
As conflict resolvers, we are suppose to notice the things that others can not because we are trained to do so. We are also trained in knowing the terms of certain traits, characteristics and actions. Knowing these terms does not make one smarter than the other, or display a sense of superior mediator skills when compared to others but rather I look at it as an additional tool in the mediator's toolbox.

Should Age Matter? (06/08/09)
Is it ok to ask for age specific facilitators? Over at the wonderful NY-DRC listserv hosted on the CUNY John Jay servers (see below on how to join the listserv), there has been many comments on the following request.

Australian Of The Year (06/01/09)
While his official roles tell only a small part of the story of what he does, Dodson has served in a variety of challenging and highly sensitive roles at community level, with governments, the United Nations and in academia. He has also actively mentored, nurtured and promoted young Aboriginal leaders and encouraged respect between people of all cultures.

Entrapment (06/01/09)
Entrapment, means something much different in the world of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). The legal term is basically setting someone up to commit a crime. The best example I can think of is the undercover female cop dresses up as a prostitute and makes the initial contact to potential 'Johns' and offering them services.

Golden Nuggets (05/25/09)
I decided to post some of the quick but important tips under the title 'golden nuggets'. Why, firstly because it's my blog and I do what i want! Secondly, and a bit more seriously, that is what I feel they are; short postings containing valuable information.

Perception (05/25/09)
When considering perception and how it becomes part of conflict, it is could benefit you looking at 'perceptual filters' which can influence our actions in a conflict. OHRD lists five factors that can shape these filters:

Glossary of ADR Terms (05/18/09)
The list of common ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) terms will definitely help the 'newbie' to the ADR field. However, all you old veterans of the game, giving it a glance over will do no harm either. And before someone says it, I will say it first- yes, I know some terms are not there.

8 Steps For Conflict Resolution (05/18/09)
The second post highlighting OHRD (of Wisconsin University) and their tips on ADR will focus on what they call the "8 Steps For Conflict Resolution", which is a process they recommend for effectively managing conflict- be it in the workplace, at home, and relationships among others.

The Mindful Mediator (05/11/09)
After a very long three days working with His Holiness the Dalai Lama here in New York City, it was great to see the term 'mindfulness' popping up in the ADR/mediation blogging community.

Geoff Speaks, Jeff Listens (05/04/09)
The other much-more-famous-Jeff-but-spelled-Geoff at Mediator Blah Blah gave his review of the ABA Spring Conference on Dispute Resolution. Much like how he gave it some time before he posted his thoughts on the conference, I too took some time before I posted my response to his post.

Negotiating Justice: A Guide For Mediators (04/27/09)
This gem of a guide/report is written by Priscilla Hayner, Director of the ICTJ Program on Peace and Justice and part of the HD Centre's "Negotiating Justice: Strategies for tackling isues in peace processes".

The Brave New World Of Disputes (04/27/09)
A recent article written in the National Law Journal by Ian Meredith, Laura Atherton and Marcus M. Birch gives us a glance at potential massive disputes that will arise in the next two decades. The top three areas of possible conflict stem from the analysis of the National Intelligence Council's 2008 report, "2025 Global Trends: A Transformed World.

Stuck? Questions Might Help (04/20/09)
Stuck in your negotiation or mediation? These questions might help you move from being stuck to moving forward together.

Positive Results From Conflict (04/13/09)
As a follow up to the Circle of Conflict post [here], I thought I would talk a bit more about conflict and how it seems to many people, when they hear the word 'conflict' they automatically think of it being defined as something negative.

Circle Of Conflict (04/06/09)
When analyzing conflict it is important to realize that it can be divided into 5 varying catagories depending on its nature.

Mediation Program So Successful, It'd Going Be Canceled! (03/30/09)
Mediation Program on the Chopping Block. That's right, despite the fact that the mediation program between Police and civilians in San Fransisco is doing so good, it is still on the chopping block because of the budget woes.

Was A Terror Suspect, Now A Mediator [Plus More News] (03/30/09)
Pakistan is using ex-terror suspect Hyarbyar Marri as a mediator between the terror outfit which kidnapped UN official John Solecki and the government to get the American citizen released. Marri, recently acquitted of terrorism charges in the UK, was approached by Pakistan’s Interior Ministry to use his influence with the kidnappers, Dawn reports.

7 Elements to Negotiation: Part 2, Alternatives (03/23/09)
Figuring out your interests allows you to figure out your BATNA and WATNA. It's ok if you are saying, "huh???"

7 Elements of Negotiation, Part 3: Relationship (03/23/09)
You have your interests figured out as well as your alternative. Both are two very important tasks to take care of during your preparations, as well as to remember during the negotiation. An important question to ask yourself before you begin your negotiation is, "How important is the relationship I have with the other party/negotiator/group they are representing?"

7 Elements of Negotiation: Part 4, Options (03/23/09)
You are now past the early stages of the negotiation/mediation. It is now time to generate some movement. When each side has expressed their interests, next you look at options.

Treat All Negotiators As Your Equal (03/16/09)
Why? Well, firstly because treating others like enemies is for violent conflict and that is what we are trying to avoid with a negotiation/mediation, right? Treating the other person(s) like your equal has many advantages. One is as the mediator, if you are trying to show your neutrality, the best way is to treat both sides equal. It doesn't matter if you do not like or can not stand the position of a certain party.

Seven Elements of Negotiation: Part 1, Interests (03/16/09)
We all know that everyone negotiates. We all know that we have been negotiating since we were babies, the difference now compared to then is that as a baby, our method of negotiating was crying whereas hopefully now we have a few more tools in our mediator/negotiator toolbox.

Building A Golden Bridge (03/09/09)
What does a bridge, no less a 'golden' one, have to do with mediation and negotiation? Well, the term is from William Ury's book, Getting Past No.

Cross-Border Internet Dispute Book Review (03/09/09)
Interested in Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)? A new book sets out appropriate online process standards, particularly for online arbitration.

Is Civil War Better than Negotiation? (03/03/09)
A nice sensational style way to start today's blog, eh? Well, this quote is from the International Herald Tribune's Bennett Ramberg. His piece is titled "Fight to the End" and it refers to how over history, in civil wars, actual fighting which results in one side clearly defeating the other is more sustaining that negotiating a truce.

Hillary Clinton: Currency Before Compassion? (02/23/09)
Is this the same direction that we thought the Obama Administration was going to head in? What happened to Conflict Resolution, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation as well as Negotiation? For those who thought the USA planned on pressing China on human rights issues, newly appointed Secretary of State and former First Lady, Hillary Clinton, said the following on her first to to Asia including China:

Go Ahead, Be Stupid! (02/16/09)
Yes, the title is a bit gimmicky but what I am trying to say is 'playing dumb' works in mediation and negotiation. It does not matter if you are the mediator, a negotiator or one of the parties involved. What am I talking about?

News & Tips (02/09/09)
Jeff Thompson's news and mediation tips from New York!

The Conflict Pro's are Ready! (02/03/09)
The following is written by Diane Perlman and is an open letter to President Obama. Have a read and let me know what you think. I highlighted a section that I think is pretty powerful.



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