Mediation Awareness Week UK starts in a few days and I can't help but notice the diversity of events on offer.
We have your standard fare of keynote speakers, panel discussions and workshops. But we also have some more unusual formats ranging from interviews to mock mediations, "webinars" and simply having a chat over tea and biscuits!
This creativity reflects the inherent flexibility of conflict resolution and the mediation process. There is no one way to help parties resolve conflict. The dispute resolution process can be tailored to fit the particular dispute. Sometimes disputing parties just need someone to listen to them or to point them in the right direction.
Add More Strings to Your Bow
Many of the most successful mediators today recognise the diverse needs of parties. They think of themselves as conflict experts rather than mediators. As such, they offer services outside of mediation such as speaking, consulting and writing. Such open-minded thinking can really help mediators to grow their business.
Another example of diversifying is conflict coaching.
Two people get into a dispute - go to mediation. What about all those people who aren't in a dispute, but want to prevent one in the future. What about all those people who just need help dealing with conflict in their every day lives?
There's a huge market for this service and mediators are well placed to deliver it.
Cinnie Noble is a leading expert on this process. Watch this short video to learn how Cinnie manages to act as both a mediator and conflict coach:
Conflict coaching is just one example. But look at any of the top mediators CVs and you'll see a diverse offering way beyond mediation. They're choc-a-bloc with publications, speaking gigs, consulting jobs and much more.
Besides providing a welcome new stream of revenue, these activities help build something much more valuable - your reputation and marketing capital.
Be Bold, Be Brave and Be Creative
Mediation can be a difficult market to crack. It takes time but also effort. Most ambitious new mediators are often told not to give up the day job just yet and to some degree that's very true but there are mediators who are being bold and thinking creatively.
Last week I had the privilege of interviewing top UK commercial mediator Bill Marsh. Now Bill has been mediating for some time so has a little bit of experience under his belt but he shared a story that raised the hairs on the back of my neck.
One day, sat at home in his slippers (so I'm told) Bill read an article in the press that inspired him to jump in his car and drive to the nearest mosque. I think the article suggested that the Muslim community were at war with the Anglo-Saxon Christians, obviously Bill didn't share that view and decided to reach out to his local muslim community. On arrival at the mosque Bill knocked on the door and introduced himself to the imam, they sat down had a chat and from there developed a connection. Some time later, Bill received a call from the imam who needed the help of a mediator to help with a conflict involving members of his community.
What this story illustrates is that sometimes we need to act in extraordinary ways, we need be bold, brave and creative and consider how else we can add value to our community.
After all, there's no shortage of conflict. It's just a matter of finding ways to reach those people and maximising the impact you have as a conflict specialist.
Find some examples of ways to complement your mediation business and how to make better use of your conflict resolution expertise - Download your free marketing mediation guide and learn how to do this.