APART FROM THE HERD: A roundup of mediation blogging

A round of mediation bloggingI’m going to be out of town on business until late next week so Online Guide to Mediation will be taking a brief break, but I did want to leave my readers with something to amuse themselves with while I was away. What follows are a sampling of mediation-related blog posts from the past week or so, along with announcements of two conferences.

Conflict Resolution Network Canada is sponsoring Interaction 2006, “Dialogue, Dispute Resolution and Democracy”, a conflict resolution conference to be held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, from June 7-10, 2006. Information and registration details are available online.

Meanwhile, the University of Toledo College of Law will host an international symposium on “Enhancing Worldwide Understanding through Online Dispute Resolution“, scheduled for April 21-22, 2006, in Toledo, Ohio, coinciding with the 5th Anniversary of the International Competitions for Online Dispute Resolution (ICODR).

Curious to learn more about specific applications for online dispute resolution, especially how successful ODR programs work? Human Law walks readers through the dispute resolution process eBay utilizes in “eBay – A model of dispute resolution for our jaded legal system“.

One blog I visit frequently because of the excellent internet resources it points me toward is Inter Alia, published by Tom Mighell. Most recently Tom linked to the Workplace Prof Blog, along with an article he wrote for the ABA’s Law Practice Today listing workplace, labor, employment, and human resource web sites ideal for the ADR professional or attorney whose work focuses on this practice area.

Joel Schoenmeyer of Death and Taxes continues his survey of web sites and resources relating to mediation in estate planning and probate. Joel, who writes frequently on ADR, collects his ADR-related posts here. (With many thanks to Joel for his kind mention of Online Guide to Mediation, along with the link to the Online Directory of Alternative Dispute Resolution Blogs I launched earlier this week.)

Wondering when the best time to schedule that mediation may be? Paying attention to Circadian rhythms may be integral to our ability to negotiate effectively, according to this post from Geoff Sharp. I like Geoff’s suggestion that mediators include an “are you a morning person or a night owl” question on their client intake form. While you’re visiting Geoff’s blog, mediator blah…blah, read Geoff’s post on why mediators can’t trust anyone when it comes to their notes.

Bill Warters, who always has the world’s greatest ADR links at his Campus ADR Tech Blog, has done it again with this post on “Training Modules on Conflict Resolution from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention“, with plenty of materials and ideas for conflict resolution trainers regardless of the focus of their work. And conflict resolution trainers intent on offering maximum value to clients should read this post by David Maister on “Why Training Is Useless” (via Dennis Kennedy).

One of the questions that always comes up in mediation training is the use of joint versus private sessions with parties. Should parties be encouraged to keep working together? Should they be separated immediately? Every mediator has their own philosophy about this. Some of us actively practice shuttle diplomacy, carrying messages back and forth between private meeting rooms. Others never meet individually with parties but keep them working together at the negotiation table. My own approach is flexible–to do whatever it is that works and whatever it takes. Stephen Raymond at Perspectives of a Mediator/Arbitrator contemplates mediator styles in a recent post and includes sound advice to anyone choosing a mediator: it’s important to ask about the mediator’s own approach to mediation practice.

Since launching the Online Directory of Alternative Dispute Resolution Blogs earlier this week, I have been introduced to several new mediation and negotiation blogs. These include How to Negotiate, as well as Mediation Mindset by Anthony Cerminaro, who also publishes the popular BizzBangBuzz (say that ten times fast) and Strategic Business Lawyer. I appreciate the fact that Anthony’s new mediation blog features a nice list of mediation-related blogs in his sidebar (including Online Guide to Mediation–thanks, Anthony!). I’d like to see more ADR bloggers do the same and spread that link love around, especially since there are so few of us out here blogging about ADR. In addition, I heard from Kristina Haymes, who has let me know that she publishes two (count ’em) blogs on mediation and ADR: Making Peace Mediation and Mediation Marketing Tips.

Mediators looking for ideas on using technology to build their business or make life easier will want to see part 2 of Tammy Lenski’s series on autoresponders at MediatorTech, as well as this post from I [Heart] Tech’s on “The Perfect Companion for your Word Processor: AutoMATE“.

By the way, if you stop by Tammy’s other blog, Strategic Conversations, you’ll notice that Tammy has found a way to gain some protection for her online content. Visit this post in particular and notice the little yellow icon at the very end of the post, followed by the letters “ESBN” and a series of numbers. It links to Numly, a web site which assigns electronic serial numbers for digital content–what Numly describes as “unique identifiers” which “provide digital rights management capabilities as well as third-party, non-repudiation measures for copyright proof via real-time verifications”.

Although many of us would agree, mediators included, that competitive behavior–the drive to survive–is hardwired into us, cooperation may be just as deeply embedded into our genetic code. Colin Rule, who blogs at the Center for Internet and Society, discusses a recent study on altruistic behavior in chimpanzees and toddlers which suggests that primate have strong tendencies toward cooperation and collaborative behavior. For further details, you can read this story which appeared earlier this month in the Boston Globe or visit the web site of Felix Warneken, the lead author of the study, which includes links to videoclips of the chimpanzees and young children observed in the study.

Mediate, don't litigate!Speaking of collaboration, Clive Thompson at Collision Detection discussesMassively Multiplayer Pong,” the latest experiment to probe the wisdom of crowds. In addition, and totally unrelated to ADR, Clive also links to a fun dynamic Einstein photo where you get to choose the text that appears on Einstein’s blackboard, which you can see embellished here with a pro-mediation slogan.

Have a great weekend, everyone. See you all when I get back next week. And, as always, thanks for visiting.

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