Tammy Lenski

Tammy Lenski

Dr. Tammy Lenski helps people resolve conflict in ongoing business and personal relationships and bring their "A" game to difficult conversations. Since founding her NH-based conflict resolution firm Myriaccord LLC in 1997, Tammy has worked with individuals and organizations worldwide as a master mediator, executive coach, speaker, and educator. Author of the award-winning book, Making Mediation Your Day Job, she recently received the Association for Conflict Resolution’s prestigious Mary Parker Follett award for innovative and pioneering work in her field. Her second book, The Conflict Pivot, was released in 2014.


Contact Tammy Lenski

Website: lenski.com

Articles and Video:

Reflective Practice: In Their Voices Video Conversation Project - Interview with Tammy Lenski (03/03/20)
From her articles and blogs, Mediator Tammy Lenski is well-known throughout the mediation community. In this 1 hour video, Tammy and Michael Lang discuss excellence in practice and how to become a great mediator.

A Way to Turn Anger Into Curiosity (07/05/19)
Only people we love and care deeply about can make us so angry we want to blow a gasket, says famed Star Trek actor George Takei.

Start With a Small Yes (05/10/19)
The outset of a difficult conversation often feels like a back-and-forth trading of position and perspective with little common ground. Here’s how to use the psychology of agreement to begin shifting that kind of positional debate to collaborative problem solving.

Slow Down and Be the Bedouin (04/26/19)
It feels productive to toss out ideas for a solution and demonstrate how much we want to help. But it’s usually unproductive if we haven’t done something essential first: Make sure we understand the problem from their frame of reference.

Control Emotions Better by Labeling Them (03/10/19)
When we want to control emotions better in the midst of a difficult conversation, we may try to ignore the unwelcome emotion or try the opposite, indulge it.

Flip the Problem to Illuminate Hidden Solutions (02/01/19)
The way we approach problem solving influences the solutions we can see — and are willing to see.

4 Handy Principles for Deciding When You Can’t Agree (01/03/19)
When you can’t agree even with your best effort, having fallback criteria can break the agreement logjam and allow you get on with other things.

4 Handy Principles for Deciding When You Can’t Agree (12/14/18)
When you can’t agree even with your best effort, having fallback criteria can break the agreement logjam and allow you get on with other things.

Is the Einstellung Effect Interfering With Your Problem Solving? (11/16/18)
The Einstellung Effect is a cognitive trap that prevents us from seeing better or simpler solutions to problems we’re trying to solve. Here’s how to recognize it and reduce its effect.

The Type of Problem That Makes Conflict Resolution Harder (10/13/18)
Gravity problems make conflict resolution more difficult because they sidetrack us from actionable problems.

3 Ways to Turn Adversaries into Problem-Solving Partners (09/06/18)
Most people don’t want to be wrangled into doing something you want but they don’t. Here are three ways to turn them into your problem-solving partners and dissolve resistance.

How to Express a Concern Without Making Things Worse (08/31/18)
When I ask clients why they let a problem go on for so long before addressing it, a common reply is, “I was afraid I’d create more conflict by raising it.”

Ask Yourself This Kind of Question When an Argument Rattles You (07/13/18)
When a difficult conversation rattles you, using a centering question can help you get your balance back.

This Common (but faulty) Reasoning Leads to Bad Decisions (05/04/18)
We like to think of ourselves as rational beings, and yet we act irrationally in all sorts of ways.

Is the Overconfidence Effect Sabotaging Your Communication? (04/05/18)
The overconfidence effect is a natural bias toward believing that we’re better at something than we actually are.

How to Backpedal After Saying the Wrong Thing (03/02/18)
When words come out of your mouth that you instantly regret, here are some ways to recover from your faux pas and minimize the impact of ill-chosen words.

Can this Key Ingredient Protect Your Marriage from Relationship Conflict? (02/16/18)
Couples can have big fights, frequent conflict, and even bicker all the time and still have healthy, fulfilling, and lasting relationships. How so?

Spark a Shift in Perspective with this Question (01/26/18)
It’s hard to get fresh perspective about our situation or the other person when we’re trapped inside a conflict.

The Picasso Trick for Better Problem Solving (01/12/18)
When we become too wedded to our own solutions, conflict resolution conversations can get pretty stuck.

When it Seems Trivial, Pay Close Attention (12/22/17)
When you’re tempted to dismiss someone’s concerns as trivial, or roll your eyes at the things people find to fight over, it’s time to sit up straight and pay attention.

4 Quick Techniques to Help You Think Straight in an Argument (11/27/17)
When we feel overwhelmed by a difficult conversation, we can get emotionally swamped and lose access to our good conflict resolution, communication, and problem-solving skills.

The Question That Brings Hamster Wheel Debates to a Standstill (11/10/17)
Some debates, arguments, and bickering go on and on, without leading anywhere (except to more frustration).

Go Back to the Future to Discover How Your Agreement Could Fail (11/06/17)
When we’ve put in effort to solve a problem, we want our solution, decision, or agreement to have every chance at long-run success.

Difficult Conversations Deplete the Brain’s “Processing Power” (10/13/17)
Working memory is like a mental sticky note, cognitive workspace for holding and processing information relevant to whatever we’re doing or about to do.

Can Your Beliefs About Someone Alter Their Behavior? (09/14/17)
If you believe someone is aggressive, could they behave more aggressively with you than with others?

Join the Resistance (09/08/17)
When we notice resistance, a typical response is to try persuading them out of their resistance.

5 Counter-intuitive Conflict Resolution Habits Worth Developing (06/23/17)
Conflict resolution skills alone will only get you so far.

How to be Truly Helpful When Someone is Upset (05/08/17)
When someone is upset, one familiar response is to ignore it and forge ahead. Another is to try to make them feel better with kind reassurance.

Can Your Beliefs About Someone Alter Their Behavior? (04/14/17)
If you believe someone is aggressive, could they behave more aggressively with you than with others?

De-escalate Anger With This Straightforward Invitation (02/24/17)
When someone is emotionally swamped by anger, it can be helpful to redirect them temporarily away from their feelings and engage their cognitive capacities.

A Shadow Side to Good Listening (02/17/17)
It’s hard to listen deeply from inside an argument.

One Intriguing Reason it's Hard to Take Responsibility for Problems (02/10/17)
The next time someone declines to take responsibility for words or actions that had a bad impact, don’t immediately assume it’s a flaw in their character.

How to Say No Persuasively (02/03/17)
“If you can’t say no, your yes is hollow.”

Two Smart Principles for Resolving Everyday Disagreements (01/27/17)
Not all disagreements require long talks to resolve them sufficiently.

Think With Your Hands for Better Problem Solving (01/20/17)
New research is challenging the notion that thinking, problem solving, and decision making take place strictly in the head. And finally giving me some credibility when placing interactive toys in the middle of my mediation table.

Pattern Interrupt: Before you send that email… (01/13/17)
There’s a difference between being justified in your response and the response being a good choice.

A Surprisingly Effective Substitute for Unsolicited Advice (12/18/16)
Want to break the advice-giving habit but aren’t sure what to do instead?

Weaving the Narrative of a Conflict (12/02/16)
Conflict takes root in the space between our narrative about what happened and theirs.

Want More Self-control During Conflict? Try appealing to your future self (11/11/16)
Conflict can rob you of two precious mental faculties useful for sorting things out.

Kintsugi and the Art of Mending Relationship Conflict (10/28/16)
Conflict in personal, professional, and business relationships leaves permanent cracks and breaks behind. What if, instead of trying to ignore or hide the damage, we revered it, understanding that “better than new” is more valuable than “good as new”?

When Conflict is Real But Not True (10/14/16)
Chronic or unresolved conflict can trigger us to react based on what has happened in the past even when the present circumstances don’t warrant that reaction.

Friction With a Colleague? Ask for a Favor (10/07/16)
When friction enters a working relationship, sometimes the best path through isn’t to talk it out. Sometimes the best path through is an indirect one — ask for a favor. Here’s how the Ben Franklin Effect works.

The Key to Handling Arguments About Respect (10/03/16)
Feeling dissed? Here’s how to raise concerns about disrespect in a way that increases dialogue and decreases pushback.

The Real Message Anger is Trying to Deliver (09/16/16)
During conflict, focusing mostly on anger’s behavior instead of on anger’s real message is like burying the lede in a news story.

3 Everyday Practices That Will Make You a Good Listener (09/09/16)
You don’t get better at listening during conflict by practicing during conflict. You get better at listening during conflict by practicing outside of conflict, where the stakes are lower and it’s easier to be on top of your game.

How to Navigate the “not my problem” Problem (08/19/16)
“That’s not my problem” are four of the most frustrating words to hear when you’re trying to talk through a conflict.

A Quick Little Phrase to Stop Bickering in its Tracks (08/12/16)
Bickering, an argument about trivial matters, is one of those everyday bad habits that feeds the growth of destructive conflict in a relationship.

5 Uncomplicated Ways to Gain Psychological Distance During Conflict (And Why You Should) (08/05/16)
Here are five simple and potent ways to gain psychological distance (and help others do the same) when you’re spinning your wheels in a conflict conversation.

How to Confront Someone Without Being Confrontational (07/22/16)
Being confrontational will usually do you more harm then help. Here’s a mediator’s tip for how to confront someone and raise an issue for discussion without being aggressive or argumentative.

Dealing with Difficult Behaviors (07/11/16)
One of my summer 2016 projects is sorting past articles by conflict resolution skill. I’ve just completed the next on the list: Dealing with difficult behaviors.

Just How Important is Non-verbal Communication? (07/01/16)
For decades, non-verbal communication has been lauded as an important part of establishing connection and understanding with others. Now a new study suggests non-verbals aren’t as key as we think.

My Strategy for Dealing with Difficult People (06/27/16)
How to deal with difficult people? It’s one of the most frequent questions I’m asked.

Conflict Resolution Terms Defined (06/06/16)
I’ve had repeated requests for the language I use to describe and define common conflict resolution terms like dispute, conflict, mediation, and facilitation. Here’s the language I use and a PDF download suitable for printing.

Holding the Space for Someone in Conflict (05/20/16)
What does it mean to hold the space for someone who’s trying to get somewhere different in a conflict?

Whakawhanaungatanga (05/13/16)
Whakawhanaungatanga is a Maori process for establishing relationships. In the following interview I explore the tradition, identity, trust-building, and conflict resolution with New Zealanders Hilary Unwin and Pereri Hathaway.

6 Ingredients of an Effective Apology (04/29/16)
New research has identified six elements to an apology, and the more of those elements you include, the more effective your apology. Two are particularly crucial to having your apology accepted.

Work with People, Not on Them (04/08/16)
How do you reduce resistance? What are the best ways to handle difficult people?

Overcoming an “Empathy Deficit” in Conflict (03/18/16)
The stress of conflict has ramifications we’re only just beginning to understand: We can apparently “catch” someone else’s stress physiologically.

Small Caring Actions to Help Ease the Suffering in Conflict (03/11/16)
Conflict and suffering are confederates working in painful alliance, each feeding the other as if to ensure its own continued existence. If I turn away from the suffering in conflict, I deny a part of my clients’ experience.

Keeping Yourself (and others) Out of Conflict Corners (02/26/16)
It’s tempting to feel triumphant when we successfully back our nemesis into a figurative corner. But it’s ill-advised triumph.

Your Memory About What Happened is Probably Wrong (02/19/16)
Memory doesn’t exist to help us perfectly recall things in our lives. It’s there to help us survive. And to do its job properly, memory must evolve.

How to Email Someone After a Falling Out (02/12/16)
What’s the best way to re-establish communication with someone after a falling out? Here’s how to write an email that will help you reconnect after no contact and set the stage for talking in person or by phone.

Are You Letting This Common Habit Get in the Way of Effective Mediating? (01/08/16)
It feels natural to take notes while mediating or coaching, and coaching and mediation notes serve a purpose. While jotting down something really important is useful, taking notes throughout the session is often a mistake.

The Importance of Silence in Conflict Conversations (12/18/15)
Whether we’re participants in a conflict conversation or mediating it, creating space for a question to be contemplated before answering is a powerful gift. When we fill the space out of our own discomfort with the silence, we inadvertently smother the possibility of a deeper answer.

7 Simple Practices for Staying Calm in an Argument (11/13/15)
’m frequently asked about my favorite tips for staying calm in an argument. While there’s no magic remedy that will work in all the moments that test us, there are practices I’ve returned to again and again in my work and that are well-supported by credible research. Now I’ve put them together in a free downloadable ebook for you to use in your own life and, if you’re a mediator or coach, with your own clients.

5 Common Beliefs About Conflict That are Dead Wrong (10/23/15)
I’ve heard the following five common beliefs about conflict repeatedly during my two decades as a mediator, coach, and conflict resolution teacher. All five miss the mark in important ways and we should stop repeating them.

Do You Fall Prey to the Einstellung Effect in Problem Solving? (09/25/15)
The Einstellung effect is a type of cognitive trap that prevents us from seeing better solutions to problems we want to solve and conflicts we want to resolve. Here's how it traps us and ways to mitigate its effects.

Sawubona: I See You (09/18/15)
In moments of conflict, seeing someone whole is both a noble and a difficult thing. It is a worthwhile pursuit whether we’re part of the conflict or we’re helping them sort it out — because that’s where possibility lives.

3 Things Your Mediator Probably Won’t Tell You (08/28/15)
I used to think it was just me, that I was the only mediator in the world who occasionally totally sucked at conflict in my own life. When I sucked at it, I’d beat myself up about it too. Just so I could suffer some more. (Buddhists call this the second arrow — the first arrow is the initial pain, the second arrow is the suffering based on our reaction.)

Managing Difficult Behavior: Lowest Level of Intervention First (08/08/15)
When responding to someone else’s difficult behavior during conflict, a good rule of thumb is, “Use the lowest level of intervention first.” Here’s why this rule of thumb is useful for managing difficult behavior and a concrete example to illustrate.

The Surprising Way to Ask Better Questions in Conflict (06/19/15)
When we’re stuck in conflict, sometimes it’s the questions we’re asking ourselves or our sparring partner. To ask better questions in conflict, try this surprisingly useful trick…

Walk it Out to Work it Out (06/12/15)
If you want to boost creative problem solving or get a fresh perspective, then get up from your conference room table and climb out of those comfy living room chairs. Walking is better.

Bearing Witness to Suffering: Mediating in the Shadow of Pain (06/01/15)
Philosopher Simone Weil wrote, "Those who are unhappy have no need for anything in this world but people capable of giving them their attention. The capacity to give one's attention to a sufferer is a very rare and difficult thing; it is almost a miracle; it is a miracle.

Control Your Emotions Better by Labeling Them (05/22/15)
If you want to control your emotions better during difficult conversations, do something counter-intuitive: Give up trying not to feel them. Instead, put a label on them. Recognizing and naming an emotion can have a powerful effect on quelling it. Psych professor Matthew Lieberman, author of Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect, calls it “affect labeling.” You can use affect labeling to help yourself and others.

Conflict Resolution Activities: The Fist Press (05/08/15)
When I’m mediating, coaching, or training, there are moments I want to illustrate why resistance builds up. There are moments I want to help someone understand in a quick and visceral way that pushing their agenda relentlessly is contributing to getting things good and stuck.

Just Be Reasonable (05/01/15)
When a person is very angry, the part of their brain associated with being reasonable and articulating reasonable thoughts more or less shuts down. Closed for business. Sign on the door — go away, can’t do this right now.

How to Be a Problem-solving Superhero Without Fixing it Yourself (04/03/15)
Years ago, a student came to my office with a problem. I was a dean at the time and I had many appointments like this in an average day. To give you a sense of what it’s like to be a dean, I’ll tell you that when I left that job to begin a new career as a conflict resolutionary, one of the good-bye gifts from my staff was a fire extinguisher “to remember the job by.”

The Primal Roots of Blame, Defensiveness, and Reactivity (03/31/15)
Handling blame, defensiveness, and high reactivity during conflict can challenge both the informal mediators and professional conflict resolvers among us. I’ve found that the “primal lens” for considering possible roots of these behaviors to be really helpful and want to share it with you.

Our Narratives Reflect Who We Are (02/27/15)
Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, a single whale calls out again and again and again. Whale 52, as he’s known, has never been seen by humans. But he has been heard. For years. His call has been recorded and it’s in a frequency that matches no other whale species.

Conflict Resolution and the Ancient Art of Kintsugi (01/23/15)
What if, instead of viewing conflict as something that leaves permanent cracks and breaks in our relationships, we viewed those fault lines as testament to what the relationship has weathered?

4 Tips for a Stress-Free New Years (12/26/14)
The holidays can be a cheerful time — with plenty of work, it seems. But with loads of family smashed into tiny spaces, many find themselves feeling less than jolly. Lashing out is common around the holidays. But Dr. Tammy Lenski, a conflict resolution trainer and author of The Conflict Pivot: Turning Conflict into Peace of Mind, has a few tips for keeping your gathering from turning into a war zone.

The Future of Mediation: Mediators As Problem Finders, Makers, and Designers (12/08/14)
When we focus primarily on problem solving, our effort will naturally tend to revolve around pinpointing, even driving hard toward, solutions. Along with our endgame focus may come the tendency to hurry past parts of the conflict that don’t seem, on the surface, to support our goal.

In the Midst of Ferguson Chaos, an Apology Done Right (12/05/14)
It would have been easy for Louis Head to blame his raging words the other night fully on the grand jury. Or on the Ferguson, Missouri police department. Or on Office Darren Wilson. Or on racism and injustice. And if he had, there’d be a lot of people who would have given him a pass under the circumstances.

Intervening in Conflict When It's Not Your Job (11/11/14)
When you’ve got conflict resolution skills, you can’t help but notice all the situations around you that might benefit from your help. But how do you choose when to help informally and when to stay out of it?

You Don’t Have to Have This Experience with Conflict Resolution (09/26/14)
I’ve finally found the way to describe my work with the help of an image.

High Conflict Personality: Are you sure? (09/12/14)
High conflict personality: Are you sure? chaotic neon "He's such a high conflict personality that I'm scared to disagree with him." "She's high conflict and I don't think any of these approaches will work with her." "How can we best deal with high conflict personalities in the workplace?" "I've been labeled 'high conflict' and I'm blamed for starting every argument."

The Essential (and often ignored) Ingredient for Conflict Resolution (09/02/14)
The answer to your conflicts does not lie in yet another conflict resolution skills workshop to add to all that you’ve taken before (skills training may be worthwhile but there comes a point when more is not better).

When You Inadvertently Magnify a Conflict (05/23/14)
Conflict doesn't necessarily mean something fundamental has shifted in your business or personal relationship. It's possible the relationship is as sound and strong as it ever was. It's just hard to see that when the conflict is crowding out your wider view. I was reminded of this recently in an experience with a certain company whose services I use to manage a small digital aspect of my conflict resolution business.

Anxiety About a Difficult Conversation? Try This. (05/02/14)
Writing may be a very effective way to boost your performance in pressure-filled situations such as difficult conversations, suggests research out of The University of Chicago’s Human Performance Lab.

Great Conflict Resolution Starts With Great Problem Finding (03/14/14)
A group of students at the Art Institute of Chicago approached two large tables holding 27 random objects. They’d been asked to select some objects and draw a still life. They were being observed by two social scientists, who reported on the communication impacts.

Why Learning Conflict Resolution Skills Won't Help (02/28/14)
The way you view conflict has a tremendous impact on the way you respond and react to the conflicts in your life. Learning better, shinier, or newer conflict resolution skills won’t make the kind of difference you think it will, unless you also reconsider what you believe about conflict in general.

Change Your Words; Change Your World (01/05/14)
How we frame our offer, our doubt, our idea, our concern can make the difference between being heard and being ignored, between interest and aversion, between succeeding and stumbling.

The Secret Good Negotiators Know (11/22/13)
Good negotiators know this secret: Persuade with your ears, not your mouth. Instead of trying to persuade by telling and then telling some more, lead with your curiosity. Good negotiators listen for: The reasons behind their position.

Helping a Friend in Conflict (11/08/13)
When friends, loved ones, and colleagues tell us about a conflict they’re experiencing, how we respond helps shape their conflict story. And what they do next.

In Arguments, Sometimes Progress is a Step Backward (11/04/13)
When you’re at the edge of the argument cliff, it isn’t courageous to step off. It’s foolishness. Courage is taking your destiny in your hands and backing up.

You Started It (10/25/13)
Which one started it? I heard someone ask. I think her dog started it, replied the other, pointing to the chagrined-looking spaniel. A third person said, Well, you never know, the other dog might have sent a signal the spaniel didn’t like. On the discussion went as the bystanders tried to figure out which dog had started the 10-second ruckus.

Getting Unhooked From Interpersonal Conflict (10/15/13)
You’re familiar with hooks: Hooks for hanging coats, hooks for fishing, hooks for crocheting, hooks in computer programming, hooks in barbed wire. They share a kindred function: To intercept and snag, to catch and hold. But what is the role of a hook in mediation?

Getting Unhooked from Interpersonal Conflict (09/27/13)
Getting unhooked from interpersonal conflict is not unlike freeing yourself from a barbed wire fence. There you are, squeezing between two rows of barbed wire, on your way to reaching a beautiful flower you wish to photograph, and the wool sweater your grandmother knitted you inadvertently becomes snagged. There is no going forward until you free yourself.

The Mediator's Life (09/20/13)
I remember the first time I succeeded in a mediation. I was a newbie mediator, just barely out of my studies and on my own. A university dean I knew from my own days as a college dean hired me to mediate a nagging workplace conflict involving eight women in the same office.

True Listening is About Being Vulnerable (09/08/13)
“When we’re truly listening we have to anticipate that we might become changed by what we heard.” So notes acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton, founder of The One Square Inch of Silence Foundation based in Joyce, Washington.

The Mediator's Life (08/31/13)
I remember the first time I succeeded in a mediation. I was a newbie mediator, just barely out of my studies and on my own. A university dean I knew from my own days as a college dean hired me to mediate a nagging workplace conflict involving eight women in the same office.

True Listening is About Being Vulnerable (08/23/13)
“When we’re truly listening we have to anticipate that we might become changed by what we heard.” So notes acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton, founder of The One Square Inch of Silence Foundation based in Joyce, Washington. Hempton, who defines real quiet not as an absence of sound but as an absence of noise, recently chatted with public radio’s On Being host Krista Tippett. I particularly appreciated this exchange during the program, The Last Quiet Places.

Conflict Resolution Video: How To Argue (07/12/13)
The Argument Clinic is a Monty Python classic, funny because it magnifies the uncomfortably familiar habits some of us fall into. For more on how to argue effectively, check the list below the video.

On Giving Advice - Video (06/28/13)
This one, It’s Not About the Nail, is a recent addition to my list, added after more than 15 readers and friends sent it to me over the past week!

Don’t Take it Personally. Really? (06/24/13)
It’s so simple to advise, “Don’t take it personally.” And yet, too often, it’s utterly useless advice to someone in conflict. There’s something else they have to do first, before they can hope to stop taking it personally: They have to take it more personally.

Shining a Light on our Conflict Stories (06/03/13)
We are natural storytellers, so it’s no surprise that we would tell stories about our conflicts, too. Story-making and story-telling about our conflict is natural and not, on its own, a problem.

Control Anger During Conflict like a Fly on the Wall (05/17/13)
Trying to control anger by focusing on angry thoughts and hurt feelings is like fanning the flames. It’s far more effective to pretend you’re a fly on the wall of a situation, new research confirms.

5 Effective Ways to Focus on What’s Important in Relationship Conflict (04/22/13)
How do you decide how much of a relationship conflict’s flotsam is worth pursuing? How do you focus on the important matters in a relationship conflict and not get sidetracked by trivial ones?

5 Effective Ways to Focus on What’s Important in Relationship Conflict (04/08/13)
How do you decide how much of a relationship conflict’s flotsam is worth pursuing? How do you focus on the important matters in a relationship conflict and not get sidetracked by trivial ones?

Freedom and Peace of Mind After Conflict (02/22/13)
I’m disillusioned with terms like “conflict management” and “conflict resolution,” though I continue to use them. I use them because I haven’t yet found an optimal replacement.

Is it Time to Find a New Filter for Your Conflict? (02/01/13)
Years ago, I bought a pair of sports sunglasses with swappable lenses for differing conditions. I didn’t take the time to experiment with the different lenses and settled into wearing the dark gray lenses all the time. They did the job well enough.

Musings on the Mediator’s Job (01/18/13)
I’ve been working my way through research notes for my upcoming book and today came across these excerpts on the mediator’s job from Winslade and Monk’s 2000 classic, Narrative Mediation. If you’re a mediator and you haven’t read it, you ought to. They have several worthy sequels, too.

On Weathering Marriage Communication Style Differences (01/11/13)
Marriages can successfully weather significant communication style differences. It helps to set the foundation for success early, but if that boat’s already sailed, fear not — you can still change its direction.

Why Your Staff Should Resolve Their Own Conflicts (12/14/12)
It’s a mistake to conflate good supervision and the habit of intervening in employees’ conflicts. Not only with the habit wear you out eventually and take energy away from other important responsibilities, but you will miss prime opportunities to help your staff cultivate their own good skills.

When is Your Next Question Born? In the Moment Before. (12/08/12)
Going into a difficult conversation with a little forethought is wise indeed. Being curious and figuring out in advance what you want to understand better is also wise. But don’t become so wedded to your list of questions that they get in your way.

Turning Conflict into Collaboration (11/30/12)
I’m addressing a group of municipal leaders and employees about turning conflict into collaboration. Here are a few of the ideas I’m going to share with them.

In a Contest of Wills, Even Winning is Losing (11/16/12)
Winning the contest of wills is a waste of energy in ongoing personal and professional relationships. It does nothing to strengthen the relationship or give it a strong foundation for weathering the next disagreement. It sidetracks us from what’s really important. It leaves debris in our wake.

Don’t Run From Discomfort During Conflict…Allow It (11/11/12)
Discomfort may seem painful, but when you consider it, you realize it’s not real pain. It’s more like ‘I don’t know if I like this.’ Or, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’ Or, ‘I think maybe I’ll stop.’ Try to stay with discomfort. Breathe through it, release it, try to go beyond it.

Stay Calm in Conflict, Felix Baumgartner Style (10/19/12)
When Felix Baumgartner was preparing to jump from a balloon at the edge of space last weekend, he almost got sidelined by one fear he hadn’t yet overcome: Claustrophobia. How he handled that fear is instructive for managing fear of conflict and confrontation, too. Here’s how to stay calm in conflict, à la Felix Baumgartner.

How to End a Negotiation Tug of War (09/11/12)
Knowing someone’s interests can unlock negotiations in ways you never thought possible.

Freedom from a Conflict (08/13/12)
I like to ask new graduate students why they want to study conflict resolution. I ask on the first day of class and they usually stare back at me pleasantly, though I know in their heads they are thinking things like, “Is this professor daft?” and “Is this a trick question?”

A Sure-fire Way to Reduce Conflict in Your Life (07/16/12)
I’d answer the knock on the door. Standing there would be a giant New York State Police officer. Next to him, looking chastened, would be my 4' 10? Scottish grandmother, who lived with us. She was in her mid-80s at the time.

Top 10 Ways to Become a Better Negotiator (07/09/12)
What are the best things you can do every day to become a better negotiator? I’m asked this question so often, and teach this so frequently in workshops, that I’ve now made a poster for you. Maybe you want to negotiate better for yourself at work. Maybe you want to negotiate better with your loved ones. Maybe you help others negotiate better and would like a handout to share with them.

10 Questions from New England ACR (05/21/12)
Editor, NE-ACR Past President, and all-around fab mediator Louisa Williams has put together another gotta-read edition of the newsletter. It includes a review of Thinking, Fast and Slow by Danial Kahneman, whose early work lit me on fire while I was working on my doctoral dissertation in the early 90s. I enjoyed Kahneman’s new book tremendously and am still working to digest all that was in it.

Negative Peace, Positive Peace: What kind do you want? (03/26/12)
“I don’t want to resolve this conflict,” said the professor, looking me squarely in the eye and leaning forward in his seat. “I want to exacerbate it.” The word exacerbate was pronounced with each syllable clipped and exaggerated to highlight his point. “It’s a conflict that needs to be done thoroughly, fearlessly, and with zest.”

Unresolved Conflict and Your Anger About It (03/12/12)
Last summer, when I was in Colorado to speak at the Association for Conflict Resolution’s Rocky Mountain Retreat, I met a woman whose energy, warmth and charisma swept through any room she was in.

For Better Creative Thinking, Don’t Brainstorm, Do Disagree and Criticize (02/20/12)
You’ve heard the standard script for brainstorming countless times: Share all the ideas that enter your head, unfiltered by your doubts or analysis. Zany ideas welcome. Don’t criticize others’ ideas.

Negotiation tips for work, home and the marketplace (01/23/12)
Last fall, my 13 graduate negotiation students, few of whom described themselves as good negotiators when class started, mostly shuddered at the prospect of one assignment in particular: Each week, they had to negotiate something. A matter at home. A better price on a purchase at the mall.

The Body in the Suitcase and the Conflict Stories We Tell (01/02/12)
“Maybe he’s got a body in there,” quipped my husband. I watched the man walking toward us, dragging something heavy behind him. Even from a long distance, it was easy to see he was burdened by the load. “Yep,” said I, “maybe so.”

I’ve Cried a River: Rooster Conflict Teaches Resolution Lesson (12/19/11)
Cindy June of Milton, New York, had a problem on her hands: Her pet rooster, Farnsworth, was waking the neighbors.

Do you recognize these 7 Early Warning Signs of Getting Hooked by a Conflict? (11/28/11)
Getting “hooked” by a conflict is the experience of being mentally snagged, caught by the conflict in such a way that you find yourself ruminating on it and feeling emotionally off balance. The earlier you know you’re hooked, the better your chances of handling things in ways you can feel good about later. Here are some signs to watch for:

Charms, Demons in Caves, and the Mediator’s Art of not Knowing (11/21/11)
Tammy Lenski describes the art of not knowing in the mediation process, instead of thinking you have it all figured out.

The Dark Side of Setting Behavioral Goals for Your Negotiations (10/17/11)
I want to stay calm and flexible in my negotiation with him, said Ann. My goal is to keep my center and allow my reasonable self to lead the way, instead of my inner lizard.

When Negotiating Salary, Women are also Negotiating Social Approval (10/03/11)
Women, when you’re negotiating salary, business contracts, departmental budgets, auto purchases and the like, figure out a way to imagine yourself as negotiating on behalf of others and not just for yourself.

The Crucial Difference Between Yelling at and Yelling Toward (09/19/11)
The woman was screaming and yelling at the top of her lungs. Cursing a blue streak. Waving her arms wildly. And it was me she was addressing as we stood together on the sidewalk of a small town during evening drivetime.

Phil Gerbyshak’s 90-second Relationship Rule (09/06/11)
Tammy Lenski discusses marital communication.

Dealing with Anger at Work: Co-workers and Bosses Hold the Key to Transforming Anger (08/01/11)
The key to dealing with anger at work is a supportive, compassionate response instead of sanctions, references to codes of conduct, or ignoring it, according to recently published research by two Temple University and University of Baltimore professors.

The Great Breadcrumb Battle Finally Brought to its Knees (07/11/11)
The great breadcrumb battle finally brought to its knees--Tammy Lenski examines an ongoing argument and the conflict behind it.

A Mediator’s Guide to Dealing with Respect During Conflict (07/05/11)
Twenty-three years ago this month, I met my husband. Sometime in those first months of dating, he casually dropped a conversational bomb one day: Tammy, he said, you don’t treat me with respect when we disagree.

How to give advice: 7 questions for advice-givers (06/27/11)
When I work with clients who want to successfully influence someone else and are using advice-giving as their primary tool for achieving those results, I like to ask, “Which do you really want: To give advice or to help? Don’t assume they’re one and the same.”

Rock, Paper, Scissors (06/13/11)
Most disputes don’t really matter in your life. Work on the ones that do matter — the ones involving loved ones, important colleagues, valued others — and walk away from or quickly resolve the rest.

Moving with the Flow of Conflict (06/05/11)
Tammy Lenski describes how to move with the flow of Confict.

Tale of the Maligned Wolf (05/23/11)

Venting Anger: A Good Habit to Break (05/16/11)

The Missy Method for Reinforcing Good Conflict Behavior (05/02/11)
A communication style learned from Missy.

Tammy Lenski Sees the Sunset of Her Career Blog (03/07/11)
Six years ago, I began writing the Making Mediation Your Day Job blog. Five years ago I began blogging chapters and sections of my soon-to-be book of the same name. Two years after that, my mediation marketing book, Making Mediation Your Day Job, was released and went on, happily, to win several awards.

Success Leaves Clues: An Interview With Jason Dykstra (01/17/11)
One of the best parts of blogging and maintaining an online presence is the opportunity to meet, connect and engage with smart, interesting, good people whose paths might never have crossed mine otherwise. That’s exactly how I met Canadian mediator Jason Dykstra, who lives, blogs and mediates in Cambridge, Ontario.

Your Mediation Competition: It Isn’t Who You Think It Is (12/20/10)
Your biggest mediation competition isn’t who you think it is. It’s not the mediator down the street who’s been in business for a decade and whose name is synonymous with mediation in your region. It isn’t the legal firm one building over. It isn’t the newly minted mediator across town who’s known well from a prior career. And it isn’t the ADR star from out of town, called in on his white horse for high profile cases that make the news.

Char Polanosky, Featured Speaker At The Summit (07/19/10)
Char Polanosky is not the boastful sort. She quietly goes about her business, a successful web design, blogging and new media consulting practice. So unless you’ve followed Char for a while, you’d never know that some of the most well-known business bloggers and new media personalities consider Char a top resource and go-to gal.

Success Leaves Clues: A Profile Of Patricia Porter (05/31/10)
A few months ago, Texas conflict coach Pattie Porter, whom I knew only via Twitter at the time, approached me about being on her BlogTalkRadio show, The Texas Conflict Coach. Ever since, I’ve been listening to Pattie’s show and have been impressed by both her practice-building strategy and the professionalism with which she carries it out.

Mediate.com Featured Blogger Interview: Tammy Lenski (05/24/10)
Mediate.com is doing a series of articles on our Featured Bloggers. This is the featured blogger interview of Tammy Lenski.

The Best Time To Resolve Conflict (05/10/10)
A conflict’s greatest opportunity for collaborative resolution is usually near the time it first occurred (if such a time can be known) or at least nearer the time it first entered your awareness.

A Spring Business Reading List For Mediators (03/15/10)
I’ve got four business books on my reading pile for March. Here’s what I’m reading and why:

When Mediating, Look For The Equal Human In Front Of You (03/08/10)
When the mediator sees the equal human, you see someone whose gotten hijacked and would be so appreciative of a mediator who helps them find their way back to more graceful behavior. When the mediator sees the equal human, you see someone you can assist instead of feel disdain for. When the mediator sees the equal human, you realize that the mediator’s behavior is what needs to change, in order to help the party back to a place of better balance.

After How Much Training Can You Call Yourself A Mediator? (03/01/10)
Diane Levin, who facilitated the latest episode of our new collaborative podcast, Cafe Mediate, launched conversation with that very question. Diane, Amanda Bucklow, Jeff Thompson, Vickie Pynchon and I dove in to answer and we weren’t shy with our opinions.

The Case For Extended, Integrated Mediator Preparation (02/08/10)
A few years ago, I and my Woodbury College faculty colleagues Susanne Terry and Alice Estey published an article on mediator training and preparation in ACResolution. Last week’s Cafe Mediate podcast got me thinking about that article again – it’s content is still valid and the topic still timely. So, with my colleagues’ agreement, I’m posting an updated version of the article here.

What Makes A Great Mediator? (02/01/10)
What makes a great mediator? That’s the question we asked and the answer we discussed and debated in the most recent episode of the Cafe Mediate podcast.

Learning The Language Of Mediation: What The Fly Heard (01/25/10)
Many of my mediation students have said that to me and I don’t think there’s a mediation trainer or professor alive who hasn’t heard something similar – for good reason.

Smart Marketing Idea From Mediator Stuart Baker (01/18/10)
Last month a large envelope arrived unexpectedly in the mail. Inside were two double-sided 8½ x 11 laminated sheets in colors immediately evocative of construction zones. One is titled The Contractor’s Guide to Successful Construction Projects and the other The Property Owner’s Guide to Successful Construction Projects. My immediate reaction was, “Now this is simply smart marketing.”

Fear Of Failure And How To Overcome It (01/11/10)
Several months ago I put up an informal poll here to inquire what gets most in your way of success in the ADR business. The overwhelmingly most frequent response was “fear of failure.”

5 Great Reads For Mediators In The New Year (01/04/10)
I’ve written before about the importance of taking periodic “ramp up and renew” retreats to step back from business, take the long view, and re-energize. When I take one, which I do about quarterly, I like to bring a small pile of books to spark my thinking and challenge my mindsets. Sometimes they’re new books and sometimes they’re old friends I re-read to get insights I wasn’t ready to notice the first time around. Here are five books (amazon affiliate links) I just read and re-read during my December retreat:

Value-Based Fees In ADR: New CafeMediate Podcast (12/14/09)
There’s nothing like a good cuppa joe, friends and meaningful chat to re-charge and re-energize. Even when those friends are on other continents. In this instance, the friends are London-based mediator Amanda of The Mediation Times and fellow New Englander, Diane Levin of The Mediation Channel. We brought our own coffee and the chat was via Skype. And it’s the start of something new: CafeMediate.

Frequently Asked Mediation Career And Business Questions…And Some Answers (11/23/09)
I receive certain questions regularly via email, so thought I’d post answers here to save some of you the time inquiring. If you have questions I haven’t addressed here, please do leave a comment at the foot of this post and I’ll do what I can to answer them there!

The Death Of The Cookie-Cutter Mediator Is Nigh (11/16/09)
Prospective clients are checking up on you. They’re Googling your name and your business name. They’re scanning only the first one or two pages of results. If you’ve got a website, they’re visiting it and looking around. If you don’t, they’re relying on what others are writing or saying about you.

How Not To Use Powerpoint In Your Mediation Marketing (11/09/09)
When a prospective client invites me to speak to their group about my work and how I may be of assistance, one of the first logistical questions I’m asked is whether or not I want an LCD projector.

5 ADR Bloggers, 1 Hour, All Your Questions, Live! (10/26/09)
ODR Cyberweek begins Monday and I’m thrilled to be part of a live event near the end of the week: Going from OH? to KNOW!. The brainchild of Jeff Thompson, one of my favorite bloggers and a guy with a pretty compelling bio, the event brings together five major ADR bloggers to discuss our tips and strategies, the tools we use, how blogging has helped us, and to take your questions.

The Marketing School For Mediators Is Live! (09/21/09)
Do you wonder what it takes to create and implement the ideal marketing strategy for your ADR business, whether you’re a mediator, conflict coach, trainer, arbitrator or other professional? Do you wonder how to reach your ideal market and really engage their interest in what you’re offering?

You Say You’re A Certified Mediator. Says Who? (07/20/09)
Diane Levin recently blogged about five mediation career myths worth debunking. It’s a terrific post and her list is on-target:

5 Powerful Interests That Influence What People (06/29/09)
One theory behind interest-based bargaining is that parties to a conflict are more likely to agree to a solution that meets one or more of their most important interests. If you’re one of the millions who’ve read William Ury’s work, you know this well, and you know his defintion of interests: The intangible motivations that lead people to take positions – needs, desires, concerns, fears, and aspirations.

Success Leaves Clues: A Profile Of Elder Decisions (06/22/09)
“There is a great deal of opportunity to create a niche in your community once you have the training and if you are willing to put in the time to market your practice and develop the network of referrals you will need in order to grow,” say Arline Kardasis and Rikk Larsen of Elder Decisions, which scored a major marketing success with National Public Radio in April.

Get Busy, Get Paid! How to develop a financially successful mediation practice: a review (06/11/09)
I had a chance to view this video last week and recommend it for a whole host of reasons. It covers important topics like target markets, market niches and market differentiation in a straightforward, thoughtful way. It challenges you to put the work into understanding what you have to offer. And Lowry sets the stage well for successful practice-building with his practice development pyramid.

The Agile Creativity Of The Skilled Mediator (06/08/09)
Agile creativity is the sweet spot at the intersection of planning and improvising. I propose that’s the intersection from which skilled mediators work much of the time.

The Paperless Mediation Office (05/11/09)
My ADR business went mostly paperless in 1999 and fully paperless in 2006 when technology improvements made it more feasible to go whole hog.

Elder Decisions Scores Major Marketing Success With NPR (04/13/09)
The folks at Elder Decisions have scored another major P.R. success with today’s National Public Radio feature, Mediators Help Families with Tough Choices of Aging.

Marketing Mediation From Your Strengths (03/23/09)
Eighteen months ago, I was putting the finishing touches on my book, Making Mediation Your Day Job, and posting here some of the ideas in it for feedback. One of those ideas was the value of tapping your strengths when marketing.

3 questions your ADR website's landing pages must answer (03/16/09)
A landing page is any page on your website to which you send visitors in order to encourage a certain action. Visitors find your landing pages via links you provide directly to those pages. Examples of landing pages include:

A few marketing terms concisely clarified (02/16/09)
It matters less to me that you precisely agree with the definitions I’ve crafted than you having clarity in your own mind about how the cluster of marketing and sales activities differ from one another. The danger of muddy thinking about marketing activities is the missed opportunity to build and promote your mediation practice or ADR career in a thoughtful, cohesive way.

Making The Most Of LinkedIn In 2009 (01/06/09)
LinkedIn is one of the premier online networking sites for business professionals worldwide. Chances are you’re already on LinkedIn and have begun to build your connections there.

Two Critical Questions Your Mediation Marketing Must Answer (12/14/08)
Before any client hires you, they’re asking themselves two critical questions: Is mediation (substitute other conflict resolution services you offer if needed) relevant to my problem? Why should I hire this mediator instead of someone else?

All Aflitter About Twitter: Answers To Your Social Media Questions (11/18/08)
Judging by the number of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and other social networking questions I’m receiving from Mediator Tech readers, it sounds like online networking is on your mind. Here are the answers to the questions I’m asked most frequently, followed by additional resources to help you learn more.

Top-Notch Conflict Resolution Blogs Written For Public Consumption (11/10/08)
A mediator recently asked me for examples of top-notch conflict resolution blogs written for prospective clients. Absolutely terrific question and deserving of a thoughtful answer.

The Age Of Conversation Is Here: Are You Ready? (11/03/08)
In what began as a mild dare, Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan challenged bloggers around the world to contribute one page — 400 words — on the topic of “conversation.” The resulting book, The Age of Conversation 2, brings together over 100 of the world’s leading marketers, writers, thinkers and creative innovators in a ground-breaking collection of essays about the value of dialogue in the world of marketing and idea-building. Contributors hail from 29 U.S. states and 14 other nations.

Micro-blogging goes mainstream says Wall Street Journal (10/27/08)
Last summer I wrote Twitter 101 for Mediators, offering ideas for getting started with the micro-blogging platform and reasons Twitter could be an effective marketing tool for mediators. If you’ve been considering Twitter, or have just started using it, check out this week’s Wall Street Journal article, Twitter Goes Mainstream.

Mediators can do well by doing good, even in a recession (10/21/08)
Charles Green, author of the excellent (I just finished it) Trust-Based Selling: Using Customer Focus and Collaboration to Build Long-Term Relationships, recently blogged some ideas for trustworthy and future-thinking ways small businesses can act during difficult economic times.

Mediation in the Mainstream: the Problem of Observability (10/06/08)
Diffusion of innovation theory tells us that when people use an innovation and the good results are visible by others, the innovation will spread more rapidly. It’s the observability factor.

Mediation in the mainstream: How to make it a successful innovation (09/30/08)
What will it take for ADR to reach a real tipping point? This may be the single most important question for practitioners who want to build their ADR practices and market themselves successfully. There are five critical characteristics that, while not requirements for an innovation to meet success, can greatly affect the rate at which it gets adopted. And it turns out that all five are highly relevant to successful mediation marketing. Know the five — and how to address them in your...

It's time to order your Thanksgiving cards for clients (09/23/08)
Last year, I wrote about thank you gifts for mediation clients and referrers. In the post, I suggested sending Thanksgiving cards instead of Christmas cards as part of your mediation marketing strategy: 'I thank my clients and referral sources at Thanksgiving instead of in December because:' No one else does, so my thank you stands out. I can neatly sidestep the entire Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Chrismukkah thing. Thanksgiving is a time of giving thanks. What better time...

Six degrees of separation now three? (09/16/08)
Have social networking and social media cut six degrees of separation down to three? French mobile carrier O2 thinks so, based on the results of a study they commissioned and discussed in this recent press release: “O2 commissioned social organisational specialist Jeff Rodrigues to examine the impact of technology on how connected people are. The research included over 50 hours of in-depth interviews with adults across three different age groups, (18-25, 35-45, 55+) and found that the ...

Your single biggest competitor isn't who you think (09/10/08)
Who's your biggest competitor for mediation clients? Is it the mediator down the street, the one who's been in business for a decade and whose name is synonymous with mediation? Or the newly minted mediator who just opened shop across town? Or the world-known guru who gets the high-profile cases? I don't think so. Is it the attorneys in your area who specialize in whatever arena you also specialize in? Maybe they now mediate too? I don't think so. Is it family...

Mediator Tech Newsletter: The ACR Edition (09/02/08)
The Association for Conflict Resolution’s annual conference in Austin, Texas is less than a month away. But don’t just go to the conference. Plan to get the most out of your investment and experience there! This newsletter edition is devoted to tips for getting the most out of the conference and suggestions for ways you and I can meet up. I’ve met so many of you online and would love to see you in person! And those of you I’ve trained and taught and met in other ways,...

Your website isn't about you, it's about them (08/24/08)
Your website isn't about you. Or, at least, it shouldn't be. Your website is about your clients and visitors. Your prospective clients. And their pain and problems, their hopes and dreams. When you make your site about them, you give people a reason to stay. And maybe come back. But when you make your site all about you, well, to paraphrase the book, they're just not that into you. Marketer Mark Nagurski calls companies' penchant to write mostly about themselves...

Success leaves clues: Nancy Hudgins (07/29/08)
Success Leaves Clues is my occasional series of interviews with interesting ADR professionals who have effectively navigated the intersection of technology use and ADR practice-building. This time around, I have the pleasure of interviewing fellow ADR blogger Nancy Hudgins. Nancy is a San Francisco, CA lawyer and mediator specializing in civil cases. She’s also the blogger behind Civil Negotiation and Mediation, a Mediate.com-featured and Alltop-honored ADR blog she started in January of ...

How to cure an allergic reaction to mediation marketing (07/21/08)
Back in March, attorney and marketing consultant Cole Silver interviewed me for his Raindancing Expert Audio Series. At the time, I shared the 30-minute interview audio, How to Market a Mediation Practice and it’s still there for the listening if you’re new to Mediator Tech or didn’t have the inclination at the time. Cole’s alerted me to a marketing article he’s got running at The Complete Lawyer (also home to The Human Factor, from fellow ADR bloggers and...

Social media: join the shift from monologue to dialogue (07/07/08)
In Making Mediation Your Day Job, I discuss at length the way dialogue and conversation are replacing the old monologue marketing model and what mediators should do about it. Still not convinced it’s worth your while to network online and use social media to promote your business? Take a look at this excellent slideshow, filled with some pretty interesting data. For instance: 36% of consumers think more positively about companies that have blogs. Millenials spend 16 hours or more per ...

Twitter 101 for Mediators (06/17/08)
A few weeks ago, after a long run, my aching feet reminded me it’s time to find some new dress shoes that accommodate feet that have been running for 30 years. Trouble is, I live in southern NH, not exactly a shoe mecca. So I put a question out on Twitter. A couple of tweets later (yes, that’s what they’re called…corny, I know), Tony, the CEO of Zappos, the terrific online shoe store, had invited me to send him my specs for shoes and he’d make sure I got some good ...

Calculate your GQ (google quotient) (06/10/08)
If you don’t show up in Google, you don’t exist. So say the authors of Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand. They’re right. And I’d add, “If you don’t show up in Google with results that show your professional credibility, you might as well not exist in the ADR marketplace.” I’ve talked before about the value of Googling yourself periodically. Career Distinction’s William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson have elevated...

Why your website needs a good 404 page (06/02/08)
You’ve seen them. Those white, mostly blank web pages that say, in large bold lettering, Not Found. They’re 404 error pages, the pages visitors to your website land on if the URL they tried no longer exists. People can end up on 404 pages when you move a page, rename it, delete it, the link they clicked had a typo or other error, and when they mis-type the URL. Why you should care You should care about this because 404 error pages are an opportunity. An opportunity… Not...

How to start a mediation business blog (05/26/08)
Business blogging, once the odd step-cousin of personal blogging and the source of weird looks from fellow mediators when I started in 2002, is all the rage now. That’s a good thing and a bad thing. A good thing because blogs can be powerful mechanisms for building valuable real estate on the web. A bad thing because, like any bandwagon, jumping on just because someone tells you that you should can be a recipe for wasting your time. As I’ve mentioned before, successful blogging...

The ABCs of Conflict Resolution (05/12/08)
Some time ago, I interviewed Settle It Now’s Vickie Pynchon as part of my Success Leaves Clues series. I’m a regular reader of Vickie’s blog because I love her smarts and edgy humor. The blogosphere first connected me with Vickie and she’s now part of what Diane Levin aptly named the ADR Blog Posse…the people I turn to when I could use a little reasoned reaction from fellow bloggers. They include Vickie, Diane, Geoff Sharp, Gini Nelson and Stephanie West...

How and why to comment on a blog (05/05/08)
I’m always grateful when a reader contacts me with their thoughts and ideas in response to one of my posts here at Mediator Tech. Not only does it help me get a sense of how well my content is meeting your needs, but it also gives me the interaction with fellow ADR folks that’s a good chunk of the fun of blogging. Thank you to each and every one of you who has ever contacted me with a comment. I’ve come to understand lately that some of you are emailing me to comment because ...

Do you recognize the blissful ignorance effect in your mediation marketing? (04/29/08)
Is it possible to give too much information about mediation or your services in your marketing? Maybe so. Consider this University of Iowa study and the so-called Blissful Ignorance Effect: “We found that once people commit to buying or consuming something, there’s a kind of wishful thinking that happens and they want to like what they’ve bought,” said assistant professor of marketing Dhananjay Nayakankuppam. “The less you know about a product, the easier it...

Success Leaves Clues: Gini Nelson (04/21/08)
Success Leaves Clues is my occasional series of interviews with interesting ADR professionals who have effectively navigated the intersection of technology use and ADR practice-building. Gini Nelson and I re-connected a few weeks ago and agreed to exchange interviews, and I’m delighted she’s agreed to be profiled for this series. I first met Gini in person a few years ago at the Minneapolis ACR, when I attended a terrific workshop she lead on the neuroscience of conflict. I’d ...

Mediation Marketing Resources April 2008 (04/14/08)
Mediation Marketing Resources is my periodic roundup of articles, tools and ideas that offer insights and support for your ADR marketing efforts. This month’s roundup gathers together articles on branding, blogging and ways to avoid watering down your valuable time: How do you set yourself apart from the competition? Business coach Dave Navarro offers three powerful questions for clarifying your brand and differentiating yourself in 3 Steps to Creating a Freelancing Brand that...

New book discussion forum helps jumpstart your mediation marketing (04/07/08)
It’s been a treat to get emails from those of you who’ve read Making Mediation Your Day Job: How to Market Your ADR Business Using Mediation Principles You Already Know and learn the new clarity, new energy or new ideas you walked away with. Some of you have also expressed interest in a place for open discussion about the book and the exercises in it, a place to keep the momentum going and to ask questions that have come up. You asked for it and I’ve created it. I’ve...

Skype Meeting Tips (03/31/08)
As more and more of my business calls are international, I've found Skype an invaluable tool for keeping the phone bills reasonable and being able to see eye-to-eye with the person at the other end of the phone line. So I appreciated Chris Garrett's Tips for Better Skype Meetings. For example, Chris suggests, Add contacts as your first job - Rather than waiting 'til the last minute, it is best to swap and add contact information before. Also share landline or mobile numbers ...

The Mediator Tech Article Vault, February 2008 (02/19/08)
The Mediator Tech Article Vault is a monthly feature that dips into the archives and shares still-relevant articles from a year ago. Here's this month's selection, with a little something for everyone: How I Started My Mediation Practice, a two-part series Relationship Blogging for ADR Pros Prevent Spammers from Harvesting Your Email Address GrandCentral: A Phone Solution for Small Business Rethinking the Web and Our Relationship to It Yugma: Free Web Conferencing and...

It's a book launch virtual party! (02/11/08)
What do you do with over $2,500 in services and products that could help any mediator jump-start their ADR business? Why, throw a party and give them away, of course! It's all part of the Book Launch Virtual Party I'm throwing to celebrate the release of my book, Making Mediation Your Day Job. Yesterday, I shared a few party favors to whet your appetite…now I'm back to tell you that some of the brightest, most talented and generous spirits on the web have given of...

The power of a personalized thanks (02/06/08)
A little package appeared in the mail today. Inside was a gift-wrapped box and a note thanking me for referring ADR work. The box contained a set of CDs with stories about pets…right up my alley. It was from a former mediation grad student of mine, to whom I had referred a client I couldn't take on because I'm heavily booked right now. You can bet I'll refer work to her again. She's an excellent mediator. And her thanks will stick in my mind because it was special....

Is blogging a good mediation marketing strategy? (01/28/08)
I get asked this question a lot. My typical answer: For most mediators, no. For mediators who've set a solid marketing foundation, the question gets answered as part of the right mediation marketing groundwork. When you know what you want to accomplish with your mediation marketing, and for what audience, then you'll know if blogging is a good ADR marketing strategy for you and your ADR business. But don't just take my word for it. Ask Lorelle van Fossen, whom I met at a...

Mediators, get a new small biz idea every day (01/21/08)
Every morning like clockwork, my email inbox has a new small business idea waiting for me. You can have these quick reads and good resources, too. Just subscribe to Barbara Weltman's Small Business Idea of the Day. Weltman's credentials aren't lightweight and neither is her advice. Copyright © 2008 by Tammy Lenski. All rights reserved.

How to build your ADR brand by finding out how you're perceived (01/08/08)
"O wad some Power the giftie gie us, To see oursels as ithers see us!" My Scottish mother was fond of quoting Robert Burns and I still recall her describing the circumstances that led to those famous lines in his poem To a Louse. The ability to see yourself as others see you is a powerful concept in mediation marketing, because it helps ensure that the brand (the emotional message and image) you're building is consistent with the brand people think they're buying and want...

Time for your ramp-up and renewal retreat (12/31/07)
This is the perfect time of year for what I like to call a Ramp-Up and Renewal Retreat. I highly recommend regular renewal retreats for all mediators who are or want to be in a thriving private practice. It's one of the best action you can take right now to ramp up your business: Take a time out and reflect deeply on the work you are and want to be doing. What's a Ramp-up and Renewal Retreat? In How Much Time Should You Spend on Marketing? I described it this way: For 10 years...

In mediation marketing, the little touches count (12/17/07)
Every Friday I write thank you cards to clients I served that week. They're hand written and I choose the card from a stockpile I keep in my office, something for every client personality. It takes me 15-20 minutes do write each week's cards and I know they matter because clients have commented. Sometimes, I'll include an article from my files if I have one that's relevant post-mediation or consult. And, of course, I include my business card…three of them. One for the ...

Learn how to start a mediation marketing blog (12/11/07)
Earlier this year, I teamed up with my friend, mediation colleague, and ADR blogger extraordinaire Diane Levin to produce a 5-part audio program for mediators, Building Buzz with Blogs. The audio program was recorded in five 1-hour segments during live teleseminars attended by mediators from throughout the U.S. Diane and I've agreed it's a great time now to bundle the five audio programs into a single package for you at $28.00 U.S. Learn more and grab your 5-hour mediation blog...

Does Your Mediation Marketing Website Engage? (12/04/07)
Research suggests you have as little as 1/20th of a second to capture your website visitor's attention before they click away. When you consider just how tiny an amount of time that is, it becomes clearer that typical-template, handshake-photo mediation sites are less and less likely to cut it as marketing tools. To stop that click away, mediation marketers have to: Solve a problem. Make them laugh. Get their attention (in a good way, of course). Entertain them. Teach them something....

Synchronizing without being rube goldberg: plaxo is my hero (11/27/07)
Some would say that sychronization is the holy grail for small business owners. That is, synchronization of calendars, address books, and even email across multiple computers and PDAs. About a year ago, I purchased a Mac for my home office, my first move away from PC-hood in over two decades. It’s proven to be just the right move for me, but it created a synchronization conundrum: How to sync my appointment and address books between my phone, my home office Mac, and my office PC, and how ...

Simplify How You Handle Email Inquiries (11/20/07)
A side effect of a thriving mediation practice is an increase in email inquiries, especially when you have a healthy web presence as part of your marketing strategy. I’ve seen my email inquiries triple in the last year and the increase shows no sign of abating…nor do I want it to! But the increase made me realize that typing responses fresh each time was a monumental misuse of my time. So when I hired a VA in 2006, one of my first projects was getting her help in creating a series...

Thank you Gifts for Mediation Clients and Referrers (11/13/07)
The day after Halloween I saw a Christmas ad on television. That scared me more than anything I saw on Fright Night. While the ad did nothing to encourage me to go out and start spending lavishly on my loved ones, it did accomplish one thing: It reminded me that it’s time to get into gear for this year’s Thanksgiving gift to my mediation clients and people who referred clients to me. Thanksgiving gift? You bet. I thank my clients and referral sources at Thanksgiving instead of...

Free Chapter of my Mediation Marketing Book (11/06/07)
I’m so excited that my mediation marketing book, Making Mediation Your Day Job is due out in print soon. If you’re a long-term reader of Mediator Tech, you’ll recall that I blogged portions of the book last year and received kudos and terrific, helpful feedback from fellow mediators. My publisher recently sent me this comment from one of the editorial staff: “This is a wonderfully informative and engaging text that serves its purpose well. The author is reaching out to...

Let’s Change Our Limiting Self-Labeling Practices (11/05/07)
This article is intended as an invitation to reconsider your participation in a labeling trend that is serving neither mediators nor the dispute resolution field well.

Mediation Marketing Through Trade Associations (10/23/07)
If you’ve narrowed your target market effectively, then you’ve chosen a market you can actually find, either online or in person. And if you’ve chosen a target market based on a profession (for instance, the supply chain industry or realtors), then writing articles for trade publications and speaking for trade associations are excellent and natural mediation marketing strategies. But does the profession you’re targeting have a trade association or publication? Here are ...

Do you let the urgent get in the way of the important? (10/08/07)
Stephen Covey, perhaps best known for the bestselling The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, used to conduct a powerful demonstration in his speeches and workshops. I saw him do it this way: He showed the audience a large glass bowl, a pitcher of sand, and a container of rocks. The bowl represents our time and energy on any given day. The rocks represent the important work we need to do, the work that has the power to transform our lives and our practices. The sand represents the...

How mediation marketing is like a hole in the ground (10/01/07)
There’s an old marketing story about selling shovels. Some marketers sell shovels by focusing on features: The strength of the shovel, the comfort of the grip, the weight of the item, the durability of the materials, the beauty of the design. The smart marketers sell shovels by focusing on the benefit they create. So they focus on the holes buyers want to dig, not the shovel they want to sell. When you market your mediation services, are you selling shovels or holes? Copyright ©...

Share files easily without email attachments (09/23/07)
Need to privately send a file too large for easy emailing? There are a number of online services to help you out, but if you want to keep it simple, Senduit seems to take the prize. Here’s how it works: Go to Senduit.com. Upload your file. Set the time period after which the file expires and is removed from their servers permanently (30 minutes to 1 week). Email the link to your receiver. Whistle happily for a few minutes, since you saved time by not having to create an account or...

The relationship between mediation marketing and professional credibility (09/10/07)
The relationship between mediation marketing and professional credibility It’s tempting, when you’re trying to build business, to say yes to mediation and related gigs that are significant stretches for your skill level or experience. I’ll figure it out as I go along, you say to yourself. Or perhaps you subscribe to the “fake it until you make it” school of business. It makes me cringe even to type that! There’s a lot of wisdom in saying no instead, as ...

40 ADR sites you shouldn't miss (09/10/07)
40 ADR sites you shouldn’t miss Geoff Sharp has put together a terrific list of 40 valuable, interesting, informative ADR sites for LEADR’s 9th International Dispute Resolution Conference. Even if you don’t have the opportunity to benefit in person from Geoff’s paper, which he describes as “a romp through the ADR cyberspace stopping off at some of my favourite places,” your morning just got booked solid with good websites to visit! Copyright © 2007...

Mine your adr site's visitor stats for valuable information (09/04/07)
Kristina Haymes has invited me to comment on the best tools for tracking who’s reading your blog, what’s getting the most attention, and other analytic want-to-knows. She’s raised an important question, because if you’re not tracking your readers’ and visitors’ habits, you’re missing some terrific opportunities to build readership, increase your visibility, and leverage your ADR blog for greater mediation marketing success. I know that terms like...

Mediators, are your hourly rates keeping you afloat? (08/27/07)
Mediators, are you charging what you should be? Are your fees paying your bills and leaving you with money for the piggybank? And are your fees representative of your skill and experience while also taking into account your market and competition? One of the most frequent questions I get from my mediation grad students and consulting clients is “how much should I charge?” Rates are generally based on two sets of factors: What you want and need to earn, and market factors like...

Success Leaves Clues: Victoria Pynchon, Esq (08/06/07)
I’ve never met Victoria Pynchon in person. But I still think of her as Vickie, using the informal name I’d use with any friend. Such is the power of the Internet and blogs. Vickie is my latest interview for the Success Leaves Clues series. First, a bit about her: After a 25-year career in complex commercial litigation and trial work, Victoria Pynchon, author of the Settle It Now Negotiation Blog and founder of the IP ADR Blog, became a full-time attorney-mediator. Victoria received ...

Fellow Mediators, Help Promote Respectful Communication Online (08/06/07)
If you read ACResolution, ACR’s quarterly magazine, then you may already know about RespectPledge.org, a creation of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution at UMass-Amherst. The genesis of RespectPledge was a series of frightening, anonymous threats made to prominent blogger Kathy Sierra, which ultimately left her living in so much fear she stopped blogging and may never return. Kathy’s awful experience was the fodder for much debate and conversation in...

Success Leaves Clues: Dr. William Warters (07/27/07)
I’ve always thought of Bill Warters as a kindred spirit because he works in higher education, is an ADR professional, and loves and writes about innovative technologies to support our work. He blogs, too. Bill is way ahead of me on the tech front, though, which means I learn something interesting or useful every time I visit one of his sites. And when I attended his workshop at last fall’s ACR conference, I came away with head spinning from all that Bill had to offer. Bill has...

Success Leaves Clues: Mediator Interview Series Part 1 (07/23/07)
Last week I announced a my new interview series, Success Leaves Clues. The series shares wisdom from mediators and other ADR professionals who are successful, respected, and know a thing or two about leveraging technology and the Internet to accomplish their work. I’ll post new additions to the series as I interview mediators in coming months. It seemed fitting to start the series with two mediators whose work I admire, whose use of the Internet is leading edge, whose generosity of...

Avoid the Top Ten Headshot Mistakes on Your ADR Website (07/09/07)
Suzanne Falter-Barnes is a platform builder. She’s a media packaging specialist who helps small business professionals create an online presence that conveys greater credibility, instant authority, and more impact. I think of Suzanne as the E.F. Hutton of platform…when Suzanne speaks, we should listen. So I’m thrilled that Suzanne has given me permission to share her article on getting a terrific professional headshot photo and avoiding the most common mistakes. If you...

Free Teleconferencing Is As Easy as Dialing (07/02/07)
Eons ago I offered up some ways to teleconference for free. Since a year and a half is a long time in the tech world, it’s time for an update. Of the three free teleconferencing services I wrote about back in January 2006, all are still in business and still offering free teleconferencing. But I don’t use any of them anymore because I was looking for more features without more cost. For general free conference calling, FreeConference is still a useful service and my faculty...

More on the Greening of ADR (06/25/07)
In early May, I wrote an article inviting mediators and other ADR professionals to “go green” and offering some starting resources for the greening of your office and your technology: A Green ADR Resources Roundup. It’s exciting to see my fellow ADR bloggers jumping on the bandwagon now with articles and strategies of their own. As you might guess, these smart people are doing good stuff too! In case you haven’t seen their contributions to the greening of ADR, here are...

Keeping Your ADR Website Fresh: How Much Time to Invest (06/25/07)
How much time should you spend to keep your website’s content fresh? That’s the good question from one participant in my workshop with Diane Levin at New England ACR’s annual conference a few weeks ago. Diane and I offered up our opinions then, and I’ve continued to ponder the question in order to answer it more thoroughly here. How can you decide the “right” amount of time to invest in keeping your site attractive to search engines by creating fresh...

When All Else Fails, There's Rock, Paper, Scissors (06/10/07)
All right, this falls into the category of “who knew?” And it seems the perfect post for a summer Friday. There is a World Rock Paper Scissors Society. Their tagline is, “Serving the needs of decision makers since 1918.” They even have a world championship, slated for October…you can buy tickets to the event. Really, who knew? Or am I the last to know of the latest hot new sporting event? Now I know where to turn next time a megabucks mediation gets stuck on the...

ADR in the 21st Century: Easy Tech Tools to Manage Your Practice (06/04/07)
Yesterday I had the privilege of co-leading a workshop with one of my favorite people, Diane Levin, at New England ACR’s annual conference. We had a blast planning and delivering ADR in the 21st Century: Easy Tech Tools to Manage Your Practice and for those of you who were there, we thank you for your humor, great participation and equally great questions. We shared a number of resources in the workshop, including some that came up spur of the moment and weren’t on the handout. I...

4 Questions Your ADR Website Should Answer Immediately (05/28/07)
A visitor arrives at your ADR website. The first screen loads. That screen, the first they see without scrolling down, has the same real estate value that “above the fold” has for newspapers. High value. Because what they see immediately can keep them on your site a bit longer, giving you time to interest them more in what you have to offer. Or it can cause them to move on. The Blog Herald’s Chris Garrett reminds us that your website’s top-screen real estate should...

584 Business Card Ideas (05/21/07)
At a conference last week, I struck up a conversation with a woman seated next to me. She offered me her business card and when I took it from her, I knew without any shadow of a doubt that she’s a visual artist. Everything about her card conveyed that message in an instant. What does your business card say about you and what you do? Is the message you’re sending a good fit for the market you’re targeting? And how does your card distinguish you from other ADR practitioners or ...

Create PDFs as Easily as Printing Your Document (04/30/07)
So you’ve created a document for an ADR client and you’re ready to send it through cyberspace as an email attachment. Maybe you used a well-known program like MS Word or WordPerfect. Or perhaps you used software the receiver may not have on their own computer…iWork, MS Publisher, Excel…whatever. After your care in making the document look professional and pretty, you probably want it to look exactly the same on the receiving end. The trouble is, even if the receiver has ...

The Secret of Successful Business Card Exchanges (04/09/07)
Conventional “guerilla marketing” wisdom holds that you should print on both sides of your business card to maximize your use of the white space available. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest the guerrillas should rethink this idea. A few weeks ago, while I waited in the lobby of a secure building where I’d be meeting the point person for a workshop I was teaching there, a nice gentleman stopped to offer help. He noticed I’d been sitting there for a while (it was...

Mediation Marketing and Direct Mail: A Note to Geoff Sharp (03/26/07)
Dear Geoff, I’m up in the middle of the U.S. night with the sniffles and what better way to spend the time but musing, learning and reading. I saw your blog post inviting me to comment on direct mail as a mediation marketing tool and suddenly, Sleepless in Southern NH had the chance to be productive! So thank you in three ways: For allowing me to spend the night with you (what will my sweet Rodney think when he reads this…that I’ve taken too much cold medicine?), for giving me the opportunity ...

The Conflict Resolution Education Connection (03/19/07)
Bill Warters, one of the United States’ premier conflict resolution resource innovators, announced a new initiative today, the Conflict Resolution Education Connection. If your ADR work is associated with the K-12 education arena, CREC promises to be a terrific resource. In his blog, Bill noted, While the site is still under active development…[T]he focus of the site is supporting conflict resolution education in the K-12 range. There is lots of good stuff there already, with more than 175...

Women and Peace: Honoring Resolution 1325 (03/12/07)
In 2000 the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1325 and in so doing specifically addressed the impact of war on women and girls, and women’s contributions to conflict resolution and peacemaking. In honor of tomorrow’s International Women’s Day, which takes place annually on March 8, I offer this, from the Preamble: Expressing concern that civilians, particularly women and children, account for the vast majority of those adversely affected by armed conflict, including as...

How to Securely Send Large Files Over the Internet (02/27/07)
I’ve written before about ways to work around email attachment-size limits that sometimes get in the way of sending or receiving large files. In Work Around Email Attachment Size Limits, I profiled file-sharing service YouSendIt. Now I’ve got two more I’d recommend and they both offer something a bit different from one another: SendThisFile. I found this one thanks to Bob Ambrogi, who used it to send me a large PowerPoint file in preparation for a New England ACR panel he was serving on...

Using Wikis to Collaborate with Clients (02/12/07)
Do you ever need to collaborate with your ADR clients on a document before it’s considered final? I sure do and the trading of documents back and forth by email got old. Fortunately, wikis have come to the rescue. Wiki means “quick” in Hawaiian and if you’ve ever used Wikipedia, an online user-created encyclopedia, you’ve visited a wiki. Wikis are just web pages you can create without having to know anything about coding or creating websites. . .if you can type, you can create a wiki page....

How to Leverage Technology to Build Your Practice (01/28/06)
If you're an ADR professional who's just starting out, you probably want to know how to build, promote and manage your practice as effectively as possible. If you're a seasoned practitioner with a growing client base, you probably want to make sure you're using your time as efficiently as possible. This article discusses ways that technology can help new and seasoned practitioners leverage time for business-building tasks, without significant cost.