When, as a Mediator, you listen to the two parties’ respective accounts two things happen – they talk + you listen. But your listening is not detached/inactive but creative + solution oriented. You are looking for building blocks to a successful outcome. Sometimes it does not happen + the mediation can fail despite your best efforts. But, generally, the parties, unintentionally, will make a comment on this or that issue which offers you a glimpse of a step forward. So, always be alert. Its called “creative listening”.
In this Neighbours’ mediation you are not dealing with a full frontal angry confrontation – that is where the demands on your creativity are immense. And here with G+H and A+T, two points offer possibilities. George has worked on Concorde in Bristol and A+T’s son loves model airplanes. Something to build on. And Alvin’s current project is with a medic with a Hearing background – again something to bring into the mix.
As it happens – both initiatives come into play. George has Concorde models that build bridges with the boy, and Alvin obtains information about hearing deficiencies which he passes to you to introduce to G+H. There is a mood change. Things begin to ease. George gets out his old football programmes and comes across a Bournemouth v Bristol match and Alvin is able to effect some kitchen repairs for G+H. There is momentum. Now you can approach the sensitive issue + talk through with G+H the inconvenience of loud voices and at the same time you get A+T thinking about how to build bridges with next door.
So, this is a successful mediation. Neither of the parties are really Nasty + Mrs Nasty. With give + take there is light at the end of the tunnel + for you, the Mediator, an enhanced reputation. The word spreads + shortly we will look at another Neighbour’s Dispute where the issues are more raw, tensions are higher + you are more challenged.
Tomorrow, 24 June, back to Arbitration and the wording of Directions