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How Mediators Can Thrive (Not Just Survive) In Storms

If you’ve been watching the news lately then you know all about the upcoming storms. The Nor’ Easters of the Eastern Seaboard and the La Nina affecting the Pacific Northwest and California coastline are the natural storms we’re experiencing. Then of course there are the projected economic and political storms we are told to expect. These events are not something we can choose to experience. We can however, choose how we respond to them.

In order to thrive during the storms, providers must have a sort of business emergency kit. The business emergency kit must be just as well thought through as any Y2K or earthquake preparedness kit. You will need to do some homework in order to get your kit ready. Find out how previous “storms” have affected your target market and as a professional in a particular industry make some educated assumptions.

For instance if you specialize in marina and maritime disputes, then you should expect an increase in the need for your services during and following the natural storms. Folks on both coasts are experiencing damage to their boats, docks, harbors, etc. The harbormasters may see some boaters pulling their vessels into dry dock without making their slip payments and repair people will be called in on greater demand. All of these business relationships will be put to the test with many ending up in your offices.

If you hear construction disputes then both the physical weather and economic prophecies of a slipping housing index are going to be of great interest to you and the future of your practice. With a downturn in the housing index, the construction industry regularly experiences increases in breach of contract, non-payment disputes and a concurrent increase in construction cases for you to hear. Don’t forget that the current and upcoming snow and rain will have a drastic affect on the number of water intrusion cases to you should expect to hear.

Sociologists will tell you that during an economic recession the rates of marital discourse, abuses to spouses and children, and divorce rates skyrocket and therefore the need for qualified family and divorce mediators increases proportionally. If your practice is concerned primarily with family and marriage issues, then now is the time for you to begin advertising to your potential sources of referral as well as directly to the folks you wish to serve.

The tensions and challenges caused by these storms in every industry and walk of life is unfortunately the fodder for dispute. We cannot decide whether or not the storms come, but as business people, we can decide to prepare ourselves and our potential clients. Make your practice available to provide umbrellas in your target markets’ storm. Society and commerce have only so many internal coping mechanisms – when these run dry, and ADR providers are called in for support, the rainmaking for ADR providers begins.

So, if you believe the storm prophets, then take heed and get your practice prepared not just to weather the storm but to ride it out in glory. Get yourself and your target market ready. Start advertising your services to those you think will be hit the hardest. By putting yourself and practice in the position for consideration by your potential customers prior to the storm, you’ll be able to thrive, not just survive.


Natalie J. Armstrong-Motin

Natalie J. Armstrong is President of Golden Media, a marketing company that specializes in marketing and promoting the ADR industry and its service providers. She has been involved in the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) industry as both a practitioner and a marketer for more than a decade. She has designed… MORE >

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