How To Mediate At A Distance?

There’s a conundrum. People like me who have been mediating since the dark ages are so used to the face to face mediation model. Many of our mediation tools are linked to that, picking up the messages of body language just for one.
We all face huge challenges in these extraordinary times, both personal & professional. Not least is how the social beast which is your average human can survive mentally intact whilst socially distanced.
On the purely professional level my world turned upside down while I was away (happy in a remote valley!) when I learnt that covid-19 had affected two people in other businesses in my building. I decided more or less there & then that I wasn’t risking going back in.
How to go on working to serve clients, keep myself sane & pay the rent on my suite in said building?
So here I am catapulted firmly into the 21st century, forced literally overnight to embrace a new way of working. I’ve decided to work entirely online.
Many mediators use technologies such as Skype, Zoom & Facetime to conduct individual initial meetings. How however to mediate online? Well it’s allowed in the first place & used in Canada for one. The Family Mediation Council has a guidance.
So here I am all set up on Zoom with a whole new set of policies & lots of thoughts. It’s going to mean receiving & exchanging all financial disclosure electronically. It’s going to mean walking away from the flip chart & setting out the numbers differently.
What it’s going to mean in terms of working with two clients remains to be learnt- probably on Monday next week with existing clients.
I hadn’t planned on any major re-inventions at this stage in my life but, hey, it feels a bit exciting. Watch this space as I dive in & use my mediation skills in a new way.
And stay safe.

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