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  • Nicola Lewis, London Mediation Works

"I hear a lot of talking but I don't hear a lot of real listening".. the importance of

Successful negotiators listen much more than they talk.

In mediation often people come bursting with a need to be heard, to express themselves, to communicate thoughts and feelings that they have not had an outlet for, for some time. Completely understandable, and that is why it is important for the mediator to have a pre-meeting conversation with participants, to get a sense of what they want to express and also to release some to that need to be heard.

Harder is persuading the people in mediation to listen to each other..and to bring awareness to the fact that, the more you can listen, the closer you will get to resolution.

My job is to amplify the important points, to pick up on nuances, and the things that you don't aways say. To work hard to make sure that 'message sent' is the same as 'message received' for people talking in mediation. Through the filter of the mediator, you can get to the core, what you need to happen to move on. By talking it through, actually distilling into words what you do want and what is good enough (as opposed to what simply isn't good enough) you will be a step closer to your goal.

In this video, William Ury (the author of the famous book on negotiation: "Getting to Yes") William explores the importance of really listening. He explains that listening helps you to understand the other side. How can you change someone else's mind if you don't know where their mind is?

William makes it clear that it is not an easy task at times. We have so much going on in our own minds that it is hard to clear a space and to quiet our minds.

But the benefit in taking a minute to create that space is immeasurable. As Ury says:"Listening may be the golden key that unlocks the door to human relationship."

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