Written by Graham Perry

Graham Perry M.A. Cantab FCIArb Experienced Arbitration Lawyer | China & Chinese Business Affairs | Public Speaker/Lecturer

17 February 2022


You sense that Olivia is keen to speak. Sometimes in a Mediation, a party will clam up + say little. They may not be at ease, understandably, talking to a relative stranger + so approach the process with self-restraint. Olivia is different. She seems to welcome the opportunity to unburden herself of issues + pressures that have come her way. As the mediator, you only need to prod here + make a comment there to enable Olivia to fill in the gaps.

Her narrative unfolds. She likes the company + enjoys her work. She tells you that she has grown inability as the demands upon her have increased + the Company has experienced commercial success. It is poised to go public + she sees herself as important to the process. She is fulfilled + nurses ambitions for the future within the expanding company

You ask gently about her domestic circumstances + again she does not hold back. She talks warmly about Angela. They have been together for 25+ years + talk proudly about the family unit + the two children. Sensitively you enquire about the status of the relationship today + here she shows signs of emotional frailty as tears well up. A nerve has been touched. There is a problem – not with the children or over money – but with Angela. Are they still in love? Are they a couple? What is their future? Olivia speaks. They have hit a bad patch. The relationship is at a crossroads.

Aware, to an extent at least, of her domestic circumstances, you now touch on the issue of Harry. But here she clams up + you hear little. You have anticipated this possibility + worked out where to go, what to say. You step back from the personal + look, instead, at the global + the status of the Company + the opportunities going forward in order to find a context to return to the Harry issue.




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