Know When to Listen/Martin Rosenfeld,JD

Posted on June 14, 2020


A good mediator listens more than he talks. A good party to a dispute knows both how to talk and how to listen. The conversation in a mediation is a prelude to successful resolution of the dispute at hand.

On June 13, 2020, Maureen Dowd wrote an op-ed about listening and talking, entitled “An Anti-Trump Slam Dunk”. The piece was about a legendary NBA coach, Gregg Popovich, of the San Antonio Spurs. Mr. Popovich, a winner in the basketball wars, takes the President to task for misunderstanding the rage of African Americans who have been mistreated by police, politicians, and, at times, the media. Recently, when NBA great LeBron James offered his criticism of opponents of those who march for racial understanding, Laura Ingraham (Fox News) offered this: “Shut up and dribble”. Mr. Popovich has a very different take on such outspoken athletes. The Dowd piece makes for interesting reading. However, one snippet of a reader’s comment drew my attention: “Popovich is a good leader because he is a good listener.”

If you have the time, look up the Dowd piece on Mr. Popovich. See what good listening can do to help a human being grow. And see what effective talking can likewise accomplish. Have a dispute with another? Try mediation. If you are lucky, your mediator will listen, you and your opposing party, will talk constructively, and Win-Win will occur. Effective conversation can accomplish a great deal.

Mediate don’t litigate.