The Need to Be Heard/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on February 19, 2018


Mediation provides a safe space for two (or more) parties to discuss their differences. The Wall Street Journal weekend magazine of 2/17/18 carried an interview with Oprah Winfrey. Ms. Winfrey is now a contributor to the long-running “Sixty Minutes”. What does Ms. Winfrey try to accomplish? “Once you feel heard, you are willing to hear other people.” In mediation, parties get a chance to be heard, with no “talking-over”. After many years at her craft, Ms. Winfrey has learned much about what makes people tick. “What I learned from all those conversations that I had for all those years is that everybody thinks they’re right, and it’s not my job to prove them right or wrong but to give them the opportunity to voice their opinions, and we can have a constructive conversation.” Ms. Winfrey sees her role as finding subjects on which people can agree. This is in contrast to politicians who tend to do the opposite by fomenting dissent. Perhaps her sharpest indictment of the “talking heads” is this: “Everybody is talking to themselves. Nobody is listening to anybody.”

Everyone has a need to be heard. Mediation created an atmosphere where this becomes possible. Try to find a litigation who could possibly make a similar claim. Mediate don’t litigate.