Last week in an effort to keep up on the trends and developments in the dispute resolution profession, I attended the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution 12th Annual Spring Conference held in San Francisco.

I could not be happier that I attended because it gave me an opportunity to brush up on and learn new skills, to reconnect with colleagues and friends and to put new skills in my toolbox. Three inspiring workshop presenters were:

Ken Cloke, dedicated and prominent mediator, trainer and consultant, and founder of Mediators Beyond Borders spoke about how to conduct  dialogue sessions that shift people from power to interest-based resolution and lead to more authentic interactions, mutual understandings and ultimately enhanced relationships.

David Hoffman, founder of Boston Law Collaborative, committed and skillful mediator and collaborative attorney, presented on the art of caucusing and how timely and competent caucusing can expand trust and open doors that may offer opportunities for dispute resolutions that the parties were not willing to consider without the mediator “bonding” that can occur in caucus.

Nina Meierding, a national leader in the field of mediation, spoke brilliantly about the art of communicating across cultures, including how different cultures express needs, deal with uncertainty, and perceive, structure and react to time. I have seen Nina present for over 15 years and her material is always informative, fresh, and useful.

One thing I can say about all three of these presenters is that they make going to the ABA DR Section conference worthwhile. I am deeply grateful for their willingness to keep our mediation tool boxes up to date!

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