As many lawyers are aware, good communication is the foundation of a successful attorney / client relationship. Before a mediation begins, it is important for the lawyer to have an honest discussion with his client about what the client is hoping to achieve from the mediation. After all, in order for an attorney to accomplish a client’s goals, he must be aware of them.
There are a few ways we can communicate: verbally and nonverbally. Each are equally as important, but one is sometimes overlooked — nonverbal communication. During a mediation, a skilled mediator will always look at how a client is acting, along with what he is saying, in order to get an accurate read because research shows that the majority of the messages we send are nonverbal. Nonverbal communication, or body language, includes facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, posture, and even voice tone.
The ability to understand and use nonverbal communication is a powerful tool that helps an experienced mediator connect with the parties, express what each party really means, navigate challenging situations, and build better relationships between the parties. The way a client in a mediation listens, looks, moves, and reacts tells the knowledgable mediator whether or not he cares, if he’s being truthful, and how well he’s listening. When a client’s nonverbal signals match up with the words he’s saying, they increase trust, clarity, and rapport. When they don’t, they generate tension, mistrust, and confusion; feelings that are not ideal for any mediation. It is one of the tasks of a mediator to help align the client’s verbal and nonverbal cues so that the mediation can continue successfully.
Bruce A. Friedman is a mediator with a national practice. With years of litigation experience behind him, he understands the goals of the mediation process and will do his best to ensure that the needs of both parties are met, justly and efficiently. For more information on the mediation services that Bruce A. Friedman provides, check out his website at http://www.FriedmanMediation.com or call him at (310) 201-0010.