What's Mediation Awareness Week All About?
An idea that germinated in Ireland in 2015 has now caught on in the UK; Mediation Awareness Week UK will be running from the 8th to the 14th of October in conjunction with our brothers and sisters in Ireland (Republic of and Northern).
We all hope that it does what it says on the tin and raise awareness of mediation but I guess we've all got a part to play in that. From what I can gather there are three main purposes;
- To raise awareness of mediation across all aspects of dispute resolution from providers, policy makers to users not just in the UK but right around the world.
- To provide support to institutions in the UK and help them promote mediation as an effective, fair and alternative option for the resolution of disputes of all shapes and sizes. Mediation can be a first port of call (or last chance saloon) for a wide range of disputes in many sectors.
- To pull together and pool together all mediators, mediation bodies and resources to make a material impact on this brave and worthy endeavor.
Promoting The Benefits of Mediation
The patron of Mediation Awareness Week UK is former High Court Judge, Lord Justice of Appeal and Chair of the Civil Mediation Council Sir Alan Ward. Here's a short video (4min 38secs) of Sir Alan describing how we convince the public of the benefits of mediation.
Why do we need Mediation Awareness Week?
There are many different awareness week campaigns running from disability awareness week, organ donation week, migraine awareness week there's even a 'remember a charity in your will awareness week'. So there are some obvious benefits but I think it will be a challenge for the field of mediation do this really well.
Because I don't think mediators generally are the most effective species when it comes to awareness raising and marketing mediation to the rest of the world. I have a theory about this....
The vast majority of mediators chose to become mediators because of their passion and drive to resolve conflict. Some are so passionate that they feel mediation is a bit like a calling or a duty to leave the world a more peaceful place than when they found it. Others enter the field because their skills and experience fit well with those of a mediator, so it seems to be a logical career move and then there's the rest of us!
Regardless of how people enter this field, there’s one thing that seems to bind many mediators together and that is the frustrations many experience; frustrations from not mediating regularly, frustrated by the general lack of awareness about the process or frustrations from not turning inquiries into mediations.
I know some mediators worry because the dreams and passions they started out with are being eroded as hundreds of newly qualified mediators enter the market each year with no discernible increase in demand for mediators. They watch their hopes of making a decent living from mediation become a distant reality.
There's Never Been a Better Time to be a Mediator
My intention isn’t to paint a bleak picture, because there’s never been a better time to be a Mediator. These are not my words but the words of David Liddle, founder and CEO of one of Europe’s largest mediation providers. David talks passionately about mediation and how he has noticed a material increase in the demand for mediation.
The CEDR annual survey also highlights steady growth in demand for commercial mediation.
I've also met plenty of mediators that are tearing through many cases. What it proves is that with the right approach it is possible to make more than a decent living doing the thing that you are passionate about.
Mediation Pie is Getting Bigger
The market for mediation is growing and I believe that every single Mediator has a wonderful opportunity to be at the forefront of this growth. I also believe we all have a responsibility to promote ourselves as well as promoting the field of mediation. I believe if we can do a good job at promoting ourselves then the rest will follow.
What I’ve noticed after more than 10 years practicing as an independent Mediator is that we’re not particularly good at marketing ourselves. In an interview with David Richbell he refers to the core qualities of a mediator, he talks about the importance of humility. I believe we’re not terribly good at marketing ourselves because generally speaking we’re a humble bunch of professionals who like to remain in the shadows and not make a fuss or song and dance.
It’s an occupational hazard.
Mediation Awareness Month Starts Here
Over the past 10 years I’ve certainly learnt a thing or two about how not to market my mediation practice. I’ve also been incredibly fortunate to conduct well over 100 hours of interviews with some of the most successful Mediators from around the world, many of whom regularly mediate on weekly basis.
So my contribution to this initiative starts here.
Each week for the next 6 weeks, leading up to and throughout Mediation Awareness Week I'll be publishing a short post (much shorter than this) along with a short video clip along with a step by step guide to help you raise awareness, enhance your mediator profile and supercharge your marketing machine so that you and the field of mediation benefits and grows.
I’ve written a series of Guides condensing some of the fundamental lessons to successfully market your mediation business. These Guides include tips, strategies and tactics from many of the interviews I’ve conducted with top flight Mediators.
Some of them will seem like common sense to you, however common sense doesn’t always translate into common practice.
Start your journey now and download your FREE Mediation Marketing Guide now.
Let's see whether we can all bring attention to mediation in the right way at the right time to the right people.