When Actions ≠ Words

31 Mar

It’s so interesting. When I start a mediation, I often ask parties to visualize the future – asking them to think beyond their conflict and imagine what things could be like.

They tell me wonderful things like how it would feel to get beyond where they are, what they want for their children, how they want to save money by avoiding long, drawn out legal battles and much more.

Then, we start the mediation and I am sometimes amazed at how quickly they forget what they have said. In the blink of an eye, their actions don’t match up with their words. And they retreat to the conflict they are in.

I don’t think that people intend for it to happen – I think that they just get caught up.

This inconsistency between Actions-Speak-Louder-Than-Wordsactions and words has happened so many times, that I have thought about writing the things that parties describe on the board in my office at the beginning of the mediation  … so that the words can be present in the room – to watch over the parties throughout their discussions.

The board could be something we can reference during a mediation to bring them back … when they stray into the land of hurling bombs across the table, sticking steadfastly to positions that the other person has already flat out said don’t work for them, interrupting each other and not listening anymore etc.

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a reminder when our words go in one direction and our actions in another? And couldn’t this technique be useful in all types of situations … from work to personal?








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