Category Archives: Mediation Traing

WHY EVERYONE NEEDS MEDIATION SKILLS

By Jan Powers

Every year, Mediation Services of Adams County offers training in conflict resolution skills.  Many people take the workshop because they want to use those skills in a workplace setting. But what do they learn in that workshop that makes it so important for their daily lives?

To begin with, the first third of the workshop is concerned solely with communication.  Why is communication so crucial to conflict resolution? It may be a no-brainer, but learning how to listen and respond is much harder than it sounds.  For starters, we don’t interrupt or even tolerate interruption by the other party. We learn to pay attention to body language and tone of voice, but we also practice listening with appreciative responses: in a way that will encourage others to feel comfortable talking about their problems. Or if a person is angry, we learn how to create calm and elicit a more thoughtful approach.

Mediators need to use these techniques with two different individuals (or more, if it’s a multi-party situation) at the same time. One party may be close-mouthed, while the other is sucking up all the air in the room. A mediator must encourage both individuals to feel they are presenting themselves in their best light. Sometimes that means asking key questions.  Other times, it means reassuring each individual that he or she is being helpful or generous in sharing information.

Mediators learn to deal with all kinds of personalities: the talkative one, the bully, the shy person, the storyteller, the attention-getter, the oddball, the shark, the jokester or the know-it-all.  They learn ways of de-fusing difficult situations if emotions get out of hand. Identifying key issues behind a lot of words and bluster is also a skill that mediators learn. Helping disputants to recognize common ground is one of the most important aspects of conflict resolution.

These skills are really essential for everyone, although most of us have not mastered them. Anyone who  facilitates meetings where varied opinions emerge will benefit from learning mediation skills. Teachers and professors who deal with a spectrum of classroom personalities could learn a lot from mediation training. Those workplace skills are beneficial to human resource personnel but also for anyone who deals with job issues.  We haven’t even mentioned families, but all of us face difficult situations daily and at the holiday dinner table, especially in the last few years.

In December, I twice used my mediations skills in organizational settings when holiday stress and misunderstanding brought on threats of resignation. In one case, an apology and asking everyone to think things through brought us out happily on the other side. In the other, the situation was resolved by coming up with a third option that appealed to everyone.

Stay tuned for further announcement of a spring mediation training that will put these skills in your hands. In the meantime, if you have a conflict and need help in resolving it, call our MSAC help line at 717-334-7312.  We also offer Conflict Coaching if you find yourself in a difficult organizational bind.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION TRAINING OPPORTUNITY AT MEDIATION SERVICES OF ADAMS COUNTY

Conflict Resolution Training

Conflict Resolution Training

Rev. MATTHEW JURY

January 29, 2016

Conflict Resolution Training Opportunity at Mediation Services of Adams County

A football team trains regularly to handle the pressure of a game situation. While the athletes may study tapes of their opponents to learn their strategies and tendencies, they cannot predict exactly what the other team will do in a game. Training helps a team to explore alternative plays so they understand how to act and to respond under pressure.

We all face pressure daily, some of which we cannot predict or prevent. Few pressures weigh more heavily on us than conflict with others. Sometimes the stress is easily and quickly handled. Other times, the problem continues day in and day out with no end on the horizon. The uncertainty of conclusion itself aggravates us. What do you do when you have tried everything you know to do and said everything that needs to be said?

Consider conflict resolution training. Classes taught by certified trainers guide the class through the different steps of conflict resolution, also called mediation. You will learn about different perspectives and conflict styles. One session teaches skills such as overcoming communication blocks or barriers, using listening skills and reframing statements for clarification.

Participants are taught to identify problems and mutual interests as well as how to evaluate problem-solving ideas. The classes also learn how to prepare a written agreement with specific, measurable steps for both sides of a dispute. Between the course sections are enjoyable and practical break out sessions and role-playing scenarios. Elly Cleaver, retired Federal Government Alternative Dispute Resolution Specialist, will lead this year’s training.

When you complete the twenty-two hour course, you are a certified mediator. You will be surprised how often you use your negotiating skills in daily life. You will also have the option to volunteer your skills to Mediation Services of Adams County (MSAC). As need arises, our intake coordinator contacts individuals on our mediation team to negotiate between parties that contact MSAC. We offer other opportunities to advance your negotiating skills through other training events.

Who would benefit from mediation training? Anyone involved in customer service, sales, management, teachers, volunteers in community service agencies and organizations, and local government officers would benefit especially. The conflict resolution principles also benefit couples and families. In short, if you deal with people daily, you would find great value in the training sessions. As a pastor, I would encourage church leaders at all levels to consider conflict resolution training. Peacemaking lies at the heart of church leadership, and training will equip you to bring peace to a situation in your ministry.

The next MSAC training classes will be held at Gettysburg College’s Glatfelter Hall on April 1 from 1-5 pm, April 2 from 9 am – 5 pm, April 8 from 1-5 pm, and April 9 from 9 am – 5 pm. A registration fee of $275 is due by March 18. We offer one $75 scholarship for each non-profit organization represented at the training. For further information, please visit us online or send an email to mediationac@yahoo.com or call our helpline at (717) 334-7312.

Rev. Matthew Jury pastors Grace Bible Chapel in York Springs, PA and serves as a board member and certified mediator for MSAC.