Please contact me…but kindly read this first if you need advice

please contact Mediation ChannelI’ve been blogging for over four years now. During that time I have gotten more emails than I could begin to count from readers asking for advice, looking for help, offering criticism or praise, passing along stuff they knew I’d enjoy, or just getting in touch to say hello. With only a few rare exceptions, I’ve enjoyed hearing from every one of them and have been happy to help when I can.

Your emails continue to come in, more so now than ever. So, to help us both, here are some things for you to know before you contact me.

If you have a conflict you’d like to resolve or you need help preparing for a negotiation or tough conversation…

Please get in touch. I’d be glad to take time to understand what you need and where you want to get to, and answer your questions about how you and I might work together. You can phone me, too, or Skype me.

If you are looking for legal advice…

I’m so sorry, but I can’t help you. Please contact and retain the services of a competent, licensed attorney admitted to practice in your jurisdiction who can give you the advice you need to help you with the decisions you’re facing. I wish you all the best.

If you are a blogger…

It’s always great to hear from a fellow blogger, particularly someone who’s new to blogging. Your fellow bloggers are here to help. If you haven’t done so yet, please read this post, “Just launched a dispute resolution blog? Here are 6 things effective bloggers do“. It contains advice that other bloggers gave me early on when I began blogging. If you have further questions, just give a shout.

If you want advice on becoming a mediator…

Before you contact me with any questions about becoming a mediator, I ask that you carefully read the following posts first, which address issues in mediation training, education, and career opportunities in the United States. They may answer your questions and save us both time:

I’d also suggest that you visit Making Mediation Your Day Job, a superb online resource on career and marketing for mediators by successful conflict resolution professional and educator Dr. Tammy Lenski. I highly recommend to you her book, Making Mediation Your Day Job: How to Market Your ADR Business Using Mediation Principles You Already Know.

If you have specific questions about becoming a mediator in your geographic location…

I practice in the U.S. If you want information on how to become a mediator elsewhere in the world, the best place to find it is to contact mediators in that country to learn about requirements for practice, as well as information about the market there for ADR services.

I practice in Massachusetts. If you want specific, detailed advice about practicing in some other state, I strongly urge you to get in touch with mediators in your area to find out what training, education, or other requirements would be necessary for you to succeed as a mediator there. Find professional membership organizations for mediators; they can be a good resource. Alternatively, visit the web site for the Association for Conflict Resolution where you can locate the regional chapter for your area.

If you’re having trouble finding someone to help you, let me know. I have contacts all over the U.S. and throughout the world. I’d be happy to help however I can.

If you are a recent graduate seeking mediation career advice or have just completed a mediation training…

Have you sought the advice and help of the career services office of your graduating institution? What about your professors? They should all be your starting point. If you haven’t done so already, get in touch with them and ask them for their advice. They’re there to help you.

Ditto for the organization that just trained you, if you have just completed a mediation training program. IMHO, any program worth its salt should be ready to answer your questions, be knowledgeable about issues involving careers in mediation, be prepared to help you take the next steps to continue your training and education as a mediator, and connect you with experienced mentors who can help you develop the capacity to mediate competently. (This is why I cannot emphasize enough the importance of thoroughly vetting any mediation training program before you invest your time and money. Too many training programs are happy to take your money and then send you on your way.)

If you are contemplating a degree program in dispute resolution and have questions about careers in that field…

Contact the career services office of that degree-granting institution. Ask them what their alumni are currently doing and what percentage have full-time employment in the field. Find out what kind of placement support will be available. Contact the faculty as well to ask for their views. If possible, request informational interviews with alumni to ask what they think and what advice they might give.  I can’t tell you whether getting a degree in dispute resolution or some other field makes sense for you; you might want to work with a career coach who can help you with those kinds of choices.

No matter what…

I take the time to personally respond to emails. If you contact me, I would appreciate it if you would be so kind as to acknowledge my reply and let me know that you received it. Sadly, people seem to forget that these days. Please remember that it’s a very small world and little things like that can make a difference. Build relationships wherever you can: it’s what mediation is about after all.

Thank you for taking the time to visit this blog. I appreciate all of my readers and look forward to hearing from you.

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