The A-Z of Mediation: Listening Skills

Posted on: December 11th, 2023

When hearing parties’ stories for the first time in the private individual meetings, the aim is to gain a clear picture of their experience of the conflict, while at the same time building some trust and rapport with them.

But with research suggesting that we only take in as little as 25-50% of what we actually hear, mediators need to employ a certain set of skills – active LISTENING SKILLS.

These skills allow us to communicate that we have thoroughly heard and understood what is being said, and that we have some interest and concern for the person’s predicament. At the same time, we are giving the person a chance to ‘offload’ difficult and often upsetting material. 

We can listen actively by:

It's important to recognise, however, that active listening is not something that necessarily comes naturally to us. Instead, it is a skill that often requires years of practice and hundreds of completed cases in order to fully master. Done right though, it can be a difference-maker in the outcome of a mediation.

Learn more about active listening skills on our mediation training courses, either as an individual on one of our open-access courses, or as an in-house course for your organisation.