Written by Graham Perry

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

30 July 2021


Generally in life we reflect, we review, we evaluate. We look back on what has happened and, in one form or another, we take stock. Could it have been done better? Did I miss anything? What can I learn?

There is self-evaluation + there is other-people evaluation. Both are important. Neither should be carried to excess lest the review becomes intense, even obsessive. But balanced appraisal + assessment are indispensable to maintaining + improving mediation skills + abilities.

So self-appraisal first. Was I on the ball? Was I alert? Did I hear what was not being said? Did I strike the right note? Did I say too much or too little? Did I facilitate a settlement or did I become an obstacle to a settlement?

It is a truism that we learn more from setbacks than from success. If things have gone wrong we are more alert, more keen to look back + assess whether we, the mediator, handled matters poorly or whether it was the dispute + the parties that made a non-settlement inevitable.

But we need some fresh air, some new thinking, some objective comment. That can be carried out by someone who was not present. They know the questions to ask especially if they are mediators as well + have experienced mistakes + setbacks so make yourself available to constructive but penetrating enquiry. It may make you uncomfortable but that is part of progress. Life is not a simple linear progression. Zig-zags, like mistakes, are our life companions.

Finally, come to the starting line for your next mediation refreshed and revitalised. You are building up a store of knowledge + experience and you want to be ready for that meeting. In truth you need some tension about what will happen. It keeps you on your toes.



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