Trust in Mediation

Why Trust Matters

Susan Dearborn suggests that it is extremely important for parties in mediation to trust the intervenor.
Frank Dukes, director of the Institute for Environmental Negotiation at the University of Virginia, suggests that some of the mediator's central tasks are to put parties at ease and to help them make fair and informed decisions that meet their needs. Effective mediation often means reassuring parties that the mediator is not there to limit their choices, but rather to help them approach their problem in a constructive way

Earning Trust

Silke Hansen tells how she develops trust with her clients.
Marcia Caton Campbell says the two most critical things you can learn are how to listen and how to "shut-up."
Silke Hansen suggests that effective listening on the part of mediators is critical.
Wallace Warfield says, "If you don't understand what's going on, ask!"
Wallace Warfield, professor and civil rights mediator, asks how much should a mediator reveal about him or herself to the parties involved? More than the standard wisdom indicates. He says that to share the occasional personal detail with parties can help to humanize the mediator and actually gain parties' trust.
Wallace Warfield discusses how much personal information the mediator should share with the disputants in an effort to build rapport and trust.
Peter Woodrow observes that personal interactions, more than technical expertise, is key to intervenor trust and hence effectiveness.
Susan Dearborn talks about how mediators can increase transparency and build trust.
Nancy Ferrell discusses the importance of trust in mediation.
Civil rights mediator Silke Hansen describes how she builds trust with minority groups even though she is white.
Silke Hansen explains how you can sometimes be effective, even when the parties do not trust you initially.
Former CRS mediator Werner Petterson describes how meditors can earn the trust of their clients.

Case Examples

William Ury tells how he managed to build trust with the leaders in Venezuela and through shuttle diplomacy and focusing on their interests got them working together to prevent violence.
Mari Fitzduff tells an anecdote about how one bad experience can have a long effect.
Maria Volpe tells a story about a university mediation she did where she violated many traditional groundrules, but by so doing, built trust with the students and reached a successful resolution.
Maria Volpefrom the City University of New York, talks about the lack of conflict resolution response in New York immediately after 9-11.
S.Y. Bowland talks about African American's lack of trust in the American justice system and its processes.
Stephen Thom describes how he persuades the parties to mediate as he does his situation assessment.