Lasik surgery and mediation.

I’m reminded of this when I see new mediators furiously scribbling notes as clients speak — at the expense of all-important eye contact. The mediators are, with the best of intentions, focusing on the details, trying to get the facts right, while sacrificing making an empathic connection, and perhaps losing the gist of the issue. In most cases, it’s not so important to catch every single detail we hear from our clients. We’re listeners, not stenographers. And many people in conflict tend to repeat their concerns again and again, so eventually we’ll get it all. So, I encourage fledgling mediators to not get caught up in the minutia, and rather listen for key themes, emotions, and underlying interests. Get the impressionistic view of the client’s experience before zeroing in on the details. photo from Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, 1971


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