Mediation Techniques

Wallace Warfield

Former CRS Mediator, New York and Washington, D.C. Offices; Associate Professor at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

Q: What about techniques, are there techniques that you find useful?

A: I suppose. One technique that I do, and Frank knows because he's worked with me and seen me do it on several occasions, is that there are times when I just don't know what's going on. I don't know what to do next. So I'll stop whatever group I'm working with, and say, "There's something happening here. What do you think is actually going on?" I do this in class sometimes, too. I'll say, "What's going on here?" and what it does is it gets people to pause, and think, "What is going on here?" Then people start talking, and it gives you just this precious moment to say, "Okay, people are talking." Now, I think I know what's going on here. People are taking control of the situation themselves. In other words, they are at that moment, for that transitional period, being self-facilitative in a manner of speaking. They themselves are being reflective as well. So I just stop and say, "What's going on here? What do you think is happening?" I've found that this works across cultures, in several different kinds of situations.