Effective Communication


LEADR-IAMA is one of the largest mediation organisations in Australasia with over 4000 members.  It holds a biannual Kongress which covers topics relevant not only to mediators, but also to lawyers and all professionals interested in negotiation and conflict resolution. In my presentation to this year's Kongress in Sydney, I shall explain how electronic communications such as email and text create misunderstandings and conflict.  I shall recommend ways in which professionals can assist others (and themselves) to avoid the traps of electronic communications that commonly arise in negotiations and dispute resolution. For a link to a short audio preview of my presentation (to be given on Monday 7 September 2015) as well as links to register - click here. I also spoke at the last Kongress in 2013 on lawyers at mediation.  For a link to my earlier paper click here.


I thought you might find this video interesting - www.kidsinthemiddle.org.uk.  It features English teenagers talking about the separation of their parents.  As a family mediator and lawyer, the video made me reflect on: Even though the interviews occur around 6 years after separation, some of the teenagers are still hoping their parents might get back together. The teenagers spend a lot of time and energy thinking and worrying about their parents and their separation. The parents gave little and conflicting information to their children about the separation - perhaps explaining the above two points. The separations could have been made easier for the children (and probably the parents) by greater communication between the parents and clearer explanations about what is to happen being given to the children.  Mediation is a great way for parents to decide how to do this. I have been referring my mediation and legal clients to the video. You ...


Separating spouses have many issues to resolve - including choosing the most appropriate decision making process.  Early selection of the best process helps separating spouses reach the best possible agreements, save time and money, and minimise acrimony. I have developed the attached chart to help explain the four main process choices available to spouses - being mediation, collaborative practice, lawyer-to-lawyer negotiations and court.  I find the chart useful in helping clients select the most appropriate process for their family circumstances. You are welcome to use the chart to discuss this issue with your clients, friends or colleagues.  I would welcome your feedback. Click here for my Family Law Process Chart.


Better electronic communications

I thought this might be of interest to you. My career as a family law solicitor and mediator has coincided with the rise of the internet and therefore electronic (mis)communication between separated spouses. I have been fascinated by the tendency of spouses in dispute to exchange acrimonious and unproductive texts and emails. As part of my Masters in Dispute Resolution at UTS, I explored the systemic and psychological reasons why separated spouses struggle with electronic communication. I discovered a number of techniques by which people in conflict can communicate more effectively by email and text.I have prepared a guide for family law clients (and other people in dispute) to help them avoid common email and text miscommunications. You might find it useful for some of your clients. Here is a link to the page on my website - http://shepherdsfamilylaw.com.au/tips-for-good-electronic-communication/ If you would like a full copy of my research, send me ...