Understanding/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on January 26, 2020


A comedian once stated that he went to a prizefight and then “a hockey match broke out”. What does one do when one is trying to mediate and then the aforementioned hickey match breaks out? Recriminations, insults, and loud banter break out. How do you take control over the process and lead it to still pastures?

One option of course is to call a time-out. Take a break or re-schedule the session. However, there is another suggestion taken from the works of Stephen cover. “Try harder to understand than to be understood.” Ask each party to explain the cause for their ire. Ask the parties, to repeat what they think the other party is upset about. Validate feelings of annoyance. An example: “I can imagine that it disappointed you to realize that you had not been given all the relevant information. What can we do now to bring us back to an equilibrium?” Parties are sometimes angered by the feeling that they are not being heard. Let them know that they have indeed been heard and their feelings count. Calm talk is always a good option. It might just solve that hockey match from getting more incendiary.