Immediacy is the opportunity to examine what is happening in the moment.
Communicating in the “here and now” allows emotions to be dealt with and attended to as they emerge; it can keep conflict from escalating. Immediacy requires sensitivity to what is happening beyond the task at hand and a willingness to share thoughts and feelings. It requires the mediator to be fully present and take in non-verbal cues between one party and the other, one or both parties and the mediator; or within the process itself. Immediacy has three requirements: perception, skill, and courage.
Perception involves taking in both the verbal and non-verbal messages, having ‘antenna’ up.
Skills include self-disclosure, feedback, and assertion.
Courage is required to respectfully and gently state your thoughts and feelings. Gentle, Honest, Open, Specific talk allows mediators to respond with immediacy.
Bridging is a connecting strategy that requires you to link listening and speaking skills. It involves checking out the meaning of the speaker’s statement, followed by a probing question or confronting statement designed to lead them to further explore the interests, intent, interpretation, or assumptions behind the statement. Bridging allows mediators to connect the dots for the participants. Mediators listen on behalf of both the listener and the speaker.
Moreover the POWER tool can also be used to bridge information from one party to the other and Probing on conciliatory gestures can also bridge the gaps in understanding between the parties. Asking participants to say more about a conciliatory gesture that they made earlier in the CONVERSATION can act as a bridge to a more positive CONVERSATION and resolution.
Confrontation is a skill that is used to point out a discrepancy. When the mediator identifies and explores these discrepancies, valuable information can surface. Confrontation can help clarify underlying intentions.
The elements of confronting are observing, describing, and questioning. Confrontation can be used when there are discrepancies between:
- What is said at one time and at another
- What is done at one time and at another
- One’s goals and the behavior used to achieve them
Tone of voice is important when confronting this is because disputants will react defensively if they perceive that they are being judged, accused, or blamed. To be effective, confrontation should demonstrate curiosity. It should also be done with care and sensitivity, following the gentle, honest, open specific talk (GHOST) guidelines is essential for confrontation to work. It is however advisable to use it sparingly since the skill can be intimidating for the parties.
By: Austin A. Gamey
Gamey and Gamey Group Limited
HRM/ADR and Labour Consultant