Mediator Maneuvers: Flexible Skills to Handle Challenging Moments in an Online Platform
Mediators must bring in a great communication skill set and have the ability to flex and move with the parties in face to face sessions. They become competent in their ability to ask questions, shift parties' thinking, observe body language and listen for tone. The myriad of mediator skills ultimately supports parties to move through resistance to resolution however defined by the disputing parties. Now, place the mediator in an online environment with an emphasis on using new technology tools to facilitate the same discussions. Watch the mock mediation video conducted by Arbitration Resolution Services (ARS) and engage with us by reflecting on these questions and sharing your thoughts, experiences and AHA! moments.
Pattie Porter is an adjunct faculty for the Southern Methodist University's Dispute Resolution program teaching conflict management coaching. She earned her facilitator certification through Soliya and the United Nations Habitat program to engage in differences with individuals from various countries through facilitating cross-cultural dialogues in a virtual environment. Pattie is also the Founder and Host of the Texas Conflict Coach online radio program educating the "everyday" person about conflict and conflict resolution. The radio program has engaged in Cyberweek for the last 5 years educating consumers how they can easily gain access to justice and resolve their disputes no matter where they are in the world.
George H. Friedman, an ADR consultant and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Arbitration Resolution Services, Inc., retired in 2013 as FINRA’s EVP and Director of Arbitration. In his extensive career, he previously held a variety of positions of responsibility at the American Arbitration Association, most recently as Senior Vice President. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Fordham Law School. Mr. Friedman serves on the Board of Editors of the Securities Arbitration Commentator. He is also a member of the AAA’s national roster of arbitrators. He holds a B.A. from Queens College, a J.D. from Rutgers Law School, and is a Certified Regulatory and Compliance Professional. He is admitted to the New York and New Jersey Bars, several federal courts and the United States Supreme Court.
Mark Norych manages the operations of Arbitration Resolution Services, Inc., and oversees the experienced litigators, judges, and magistrates who make up the panel of arbitrators. He is also responsible for managing the company’s Arb-IT™ arbitration system.
For more than 30 years, Norych has been involved in the collection, litigation, and arbitration of claims on behalf of insurance, car rental, and other major industries. He has also coordinated and supervised litigation on a national and global level.
Norych is a frequent lecturer and sought-after professional speaker. He has provided seminars and workshops at several Fortune 500 companies on topics ranging from best practices for corporate operations to specific topics related to federal and state regulations and laws and their effect on company models and procedures.
Hi Elizabeth, thank you for your comments. The problem with speaker phones on occasion is poor quality of sound and/or static noise. I agree that using a traditional handset gave the appearance of discomfort. I would suggest a headset would achieve the desired effect of ease of use and quality of sound. Mark
On video, gaze and eye contact
Well, currently there is no perfect solution, so the way to go is to be mindful of what you yourself are doing with your eyes, based on the considerations you have listed above. You can somewhat improve on the current situation, on some video platforms, by positioning the box in which you see your counterpart as close to your computers camera as possible (this might not be the default view, and you need to reposition it manally). This results in your gaze being more directly towards the camera, even when you are watching the video of your counterpart
There are two technological fixes in the offing: The first are computers that have their cameras embedded behind the screen, in the center of it, rather than at the top. The second is software for 'gaze correction' - which will adjust the image presented to your counterpart so it will appear that you are gazing directly at them. This last has been in the works for quite a while now.
Jeff Thompson and I have discussed this issue here, if anyone is interested.
Right! The technology is improving at an astounding rate. This problem will be cured in a hurry
It would be really interesting to do a study on a web conference ODR exit survey on levels of trust according to how the mediator sets up the 'view' of himself/herself.
Now that would be interesting to not only test levels of trust, connection, genuineness, and other mediator qualities.
This is great information Noam. Until I get such technology on my next laptop, I find that sitting closer to the camera helps with identifying facial expressions. When facilitating dialogues with multiple parties, I find that having them sit closer than further back from the camera is helpful to make the emotional connection and to read the facial expressions.