The Key to Wisdom/Martin Rosenfeld

Posted on July 17, 2013


There is an expression in the Talmudic literature that states the following: “The safeguard for wisdom is silence.” One of the legendary legislators of this past centurt was the Speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn. Mr. Rayburn was known for his laconic and reserved personality. When asked why he spoke so little in public, he gave  a wise response. Mr. Rayburn stated that he had learned that you rarely have to apologize for something you did not say! Silence serves another purpose in mediation settings. By listening rather than talking, a party can learn a great deal.

The role of listening was given some emphasis in a recent blog by Maria Simpson, entitled “Three Conflict Resolution Principles”. Ms. Simpson emphasizes the importance of a listening role. By listening, a mediator or party learns what issues are important to the party who is talking. Issues need to find resolution. Listening makes that possible. In addition, .a party who listens carefully can learn how a party perceives the respect and dignity to which they feel entitled. You can learn a good deal more by listening than you can by talking. Utilize the mediation session to gain insight into the other party’s thinking and feelings. Once that us understood, the search for a resolution of the disputed matter becomes a good deal easier to achieve. Learn how to listen well. It will safeguard your wisdom and make you a more effective problem solver. Mediate don’t litigate.