Why B.I.F.F. Works

20 Nov

I’m not big on acronyms, but I’m particularly fond of this one. That’s because it’s short (so, I can remember it), and it has been extraordinarily helpful to my mediation career (which is always a good thing)!

You’re probably wondering what B.I.F.F. stands for. It stands for Brief, Informative, Friendly, and Firm.

I recently learned about it from a video featuring a Conflict Resolution expert, and I connected with the idea right away, mostly because the first one, brief, can be a challenge for me.untitled (3)

The speaker argued that mediators should use these four techniques as much as possible, and it’s no mystery why.

He argued that, by being “brief” when speaking, you can be more effective. After all, no one likes a mediator who drags on and on about a topic. Plus, being brief lends more meaning to what you say because it’s not lost in a jumble of other words.

Obviously, being “informative” is key. You want to pack as much information into your statements as possible, careful not to overload the listener.

Being “friendly” is always helpful, at least in my opinion. When you’re personable to the parties, they can build rapport with you and view you as a human being who is empathetic and supportive.

Finally, being “firm” is enormously helpful to the process, and you many wonder how it’s possible to be friendly AND firm. Well, I think you can do both. Being firm doesn’t mean you’re rude to the clients. It just means you stand by your boundaries and the boundaries of the process.

So, next time you’re in a mediation, just keep the idea of B.I.F.F. in mind. It’s more common sense than not, but, now, you have an acronym to help you remember!


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