On Friday, January 11th, I had the opportunity to conduct a Mediation Training course, with Ketan Soni and Mark Riopel, for the department chairs of UNC Charlotte. I was a little nervous to lecture in front of professional lecturers, but that nervousness was short lived. The professors were very receptive to what we had to say. I had a misconception going into this training that we family law attorneys deal with more serious issues and conflict than the department chairs of a university. Was I wrong! Given their reactions, I believe these department chairs deal with a similar level of conflict. That means that this message about mediating conflict is more universal that I had believed.
Mark, Ketan and I lectured for the first part of the day and conducted a few mock mediations at the end of the day, to give all the attendees some practice before tossing them back out into the world of conflict. There are some very talented mediators among these professors. Some are naturals, and some really incorporated our teaching into how they worked the problem. As always, I was amazed at the various styles each person brought to mediation. Some mediators used a bit of small talk to warm up the two sides. Some used silence and observation to great effect. I adore the fact that mediation is flexible to accommodate different styles and still be equally effective