On being clear

Nineteenth century illustration of manned whaling long-boats with harpooners. This whaling method of launching long-boats from a mother ship was used to hunt the bowhead whale and the Atlantic right whale, amongst others. Reports by late 16th century explorers of whales in the Arctic, led many European countries to begin to hunt them. Long-boats and hand-held harpoons were used. Until the harpoon gun was invented, to be used on steam- powered ships. By the 1970s, efficient whaling methods had led to the near extinction of many whale species before an international ban was imposed. Whale meat is used for food; whale oil for cosmetics; ambergris for perfumes.

used by permission of Microsoft

I read an article on the power of the short sentence not long ago. The blog post caught my attention because the writer used the works of Ernest Hemingway to make her point. I have several of his books and re-read one or two of them each year, and I agree with the woman who wrote the article. It is his use of the short sentence that adds power and drama to his stories.

In keeping with that article’s theme, I will keep it pithy (to echo a certain television commentator).  Conflict needs to be resolved by the parties that created the conflict in the first place. As a mediator, I make my living guiding parties in conflict through a briar patch of their own making, and the most successful mediations result from negotiations the parties take ownership from the start. In mediations where the parties have the most positive outcomes are those where, once I have set the stage, the parties find the outcome they need.

Many years ago I read a book about whale hunting in the 19th century. In the book there is a scene where the whales have been spotted, and the boats lowered into the water. As the boat crews are rowing toward the whales, the bo’sun is giving instructions to a rookie sailor.  He looked the rookie in the eye and told him that once the whaleboats were in the water, the most important job was not steering the boat, but keeping it from capsizing.

I always find that a useful mental image to take into a mediation. Want to know more? Visit us a www.cdci-mediation.com.

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