Mediation: Skills for effective dispute resolution

mediace, jednání

Mediation is a key tool for effective conflict resolution, enabling productive and constructive communication between all the parties involved. In order to successfully master mediation, it is essential to master several basic communication skills. In this article, we’ll look at five of them that will help you become a better mediator, and show how to apply them.

1. Active listening: building trust and empathy 👂

Active listening is an essential skill for effective mediation. It is the ability to focus fully on the speaker, avoid interrupting and paraphrasing the speaker’s words to make it clear that their message has been understood.

Conflict situation:

Dominik: „You missed the deadline again! I can never count on you!“

Philip: „It’s not my fault, you always give me too much to do!“

An example of the effective use of active listening:

Mediator: „Dominic, you are frustrated because the deadline was not met. And Philip, you’re just overwhelmed with the amount of work, aren’t you?“

2. Masterful questioning: uncovering interests and motivations ❔

The art of asking questions is another key skill that will help you gather information, clarify issues and encourage parties to explore their interests, thereby fostering productive dialogue.

Example of a conflicting interaction:

Manager Paula: „Why didn’t you check the report earlier? It’s full of mistakes!“ 

Employee Lukas: „I had too many other things to do, I don’t have time for everything!“

An example of effective use of asking questions:

Mediator: „Lukas, what are all the things you had to work on besides the report? Pavla, what are your expectations in relation to checking the reports?“

3. Reframing and paraphrasing: moving from competition to cooperation 🖼️

Reframing and paraphrasing are techniques that allow you to transform negative or hostile language into a constructive and more cooperative tone. This will promote better communication and problem solving. 

Example of a conflicting interaction:

Alex: „That’s nonsense! You’ve completely ruined the project!“

Boris: „Well, you’re not perfect either!“

An example of effective use of reframing and paraphrasing:

Mediator: „Alex, for your part, you feel that the quality of the project has been affected. Boris, you say it just happens, anyone can make a mistake.“ 

4. Síla neverbální komunikace: čtení signálů a budování důvěry 👁️‍🗨️

Non-verbal communication plays an important role in communicating emotions, intentions and attitudes, and it is therefore essential for mediators to be aware of their own and others‘ non-verbal signals. To improve your nonverbal communication skills, try keeping your body language open and relaxed during a conversation to show attention and empathy. This helps establish rapport and create a comfortable environment for the parties to communicate. By mastering nonverbal communication, you can establish rapport with the parties and help them feel heard and understood.

5. Working with emotions through mirroring: empathic understanding and appreciation 🌡️

Mirroring is a technique that involves repeating or paraphrasing the other party’s words and emotions, which helps express empathy and understanding. In this way, you can show the parties that you understand their feelings while helping them better recognize and process their emotions.

Example of a conflicting interaction:

Employee: „I definitely didn’t get a fair evaluation!“

Supervisor: „I don’t think you should be upset, your work wasn’t good enough.“

An example of effective use of mirroring:

Mediator (to the employee):  „You’re upset about your evaluation and you feel it wasn’t fair.“ 

If you are ready to take your mediation skills to the next level, start practicing these communication skills today.