means imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing or using some other medium.
Communicating “correctly” is not always easy in practice. Communication skills aid us in cooperating constructively with each other and in avoiding misunderstandings.
How do we communicate well in a challenging environment?
Two types of communication
Verbal communication is transmission of information or message through spoken words.
Non verbal communication is transmission of message through gestures, written words or attitude.
Non Verbal communication is often more spontaneous than verbal communication. It can provide more accurate information as it takes place under less conscious control.
The 4 Skills of a Great Communicator are:
A skill to assess the audience and own style
A skill to craft an effective message
A skill to change formats of the message delivery
A skill to deliver effectively
Communication skills in mediation
The most important communication skills in mediation are:
Listening With Empathy
Asking the Right Questions
1. Active listening
A mediator is required to be a good listener as parties participate in mediation with various emotions.
An active listener listens for both what is said and what is not said.
The commonly used techniques of active listening by mediator:
- Summarising: The mediator outlines the main points made by the speaker.
- Reflecting: The mediator confirms they have heard and understood the feelings expressed by the speaker.
- Re-framing: The mediator helps the parties to move from position to interests.
- Acknowledging: The mediator verbally recognises what the speaker has said without agreeing or disagreeing.
- Deferring: The mediator postpones the discussion until later.
- Encouraging: The mediator encourages the parties if they feel upset.
- Restating: Mediator reassures the statements they have heard from the speaker.
- Silence: The mediator needs to understand the silence of the parties.
- Order: Mediator sets the sequence of topics, claims-
2. Listening with Empathy
Listening with empathy represents the ability of the mediator to understand and appreciate the feelings and needs of parties, and then convey to them.
3. Body Language
The appropriate body language of the listener indicates to the speaker that they are attentive.
Example: symmetry of posture, a smiling face, leaning gently towards the parties for listening
4. Asking the Right Questions
The right questions help both parties and mediators to understand what the issues are.
Mediator must gather information of high quality by asking relevant questions.
Communication in Mediation, Prof. Greenberg
Prof. Elayne Greenberg explains communication skills that a mediator needs to have.