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Selling Mediation Short

Selling Mediation Short

Why do people naturally short-sell the advantages of mediation when they explain it?



Full Transcript

Well, I’m sure explanations are done with the best of intentions. But the problem is that mediators know what they do. But your average person really doesn’t know what mediation is. And typically, like I said, they don’t want an even handed service. They want someone to really see you’re lovely and your dispute other is the guilty party.


And in a way, psychologically, you can see that this is the case in human beings in a way. We sort of want to be right and it’s difficult to compromise a move. But what I’ve also found is that in these explanations of mediation, when people phone up and they start, they basically give you a whole load of reasons why this is a one-sided dispute.

They’ll say things like ‘This isn’t one of those where it’s a bit of one and half a dozen of the other.’ They’ll sort of tell you the things that this is not one of those. ‘This isn’t about a bit of noise late at night and everyone knows this person is wrong.’ And so, they really work hard to undermine that sense of, don’t be even handed. This isn’t one of those.


But mediators will typically explain mediation as something. So, they’ll explain their impartiality in terms of ‘We don’t take sides. We don’t judge events. And we listen to your version of events or listen to your story.’ People are okay with listening to my story. But when the other side’s story or side is introduced, those specific words, ‘sides’, ‘points of view’, ‘versions’, that seem to be the things that you can then start to sort of see. Within tenths of a second, the caller stops aligning with the mediator’s explanation.

About the mediator

Liz Stokoe Profile Pic

Liz graduated from University of Central Lancashire (Preston Poly) in 1993 with a traditional psychology degree. She then completed three years PhD research at Northampton University (then Nene College) with Dr Eunice Fisher. Liz videoed interaction in university tutorials, and conducted conversation analyses of topic production, topic management, academic identity, and the relevance of gender. She developed these and other interests whilst worki... View Mediator