When we become upset, we often react without first composing our thoughts. We become angry or upset, our face gets flushed, our heart rate increases and we say things that we often regret because we either did not or could not step back and compose our thoughts. The result usually causes the other person to do the same, and the conflict dance begins. The very core of the mediator’s job is to occupy that “space” between the stimulus and the response and to use appropriate interventions and techniques to ensure that – regardless of the stimulus presented – the parties can remain focused and are able to respond with organized and objective thought. A mediator never manipulates parties to a specific outcome, but, instead, manipulates reactive parties towards a peaceful and fruitful conversation. When we “respond” with dialogue, rather than react and engage in a debate, we are free to truly identify issues, explore options for resolution, and finally create a peaceful, mutually acceptable outcome.
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