1. Francisco, Natasha, Eva, and Trevor are all staying at the hotel for the mediation conference. They decide to go to dinner together and meet up at the concierge desk in the lobby. Francisco, a facilitative mediator, says, “Natasha, you’re from near here so can I suggest you start and give us your ideas on where to go?” “Certainly.” Replies, Natasha, who is a strong proponent of narrative mediation, “The old trade routes all followed the river but when the railroad came they fell into disuse. Obviously we could go by car but there is this new light rail system we could try.” Eva, an evaluative mediator, looks up from her notepad and says firmly “I have looked at all the possible options and the most efficient is to book a taxi. But we need to do it quickly before they’re all taken.” Francisco looks at Natasha, Eva and Trevor. After a pause, Trevor, a well known transformative mediator, says “Eva you are very clear that we should book a taxi; Natasha you have a real feeling for the history of the area and see the light rail as a possibility;” Trevor turns to Francisco and asks “Is this process working for you?” Just then the concierge returns and asks “Have you decided on the restaurant?” “Oh no!” replies Francisco “We’re still discussing how to get there.”
2. A project manager on a large construction job gets together all the stakeholders to discuss how best to handle a major setback on the project. After setting out the reasons for calling the meeting he asks each party to outline their positions. Then the project manager facilitates a discussion on the issues raised by the stakeholders to try to find common ground. Suddenly the police burst into the room to arrest the project manager. As the project manager is led away in hand-cuffs one of the stakeholders asks the policeman what was his offence. “A clear case of the unauthorized practice of mediation.” the policeman replied.
3. Judge Roberts chipped out of the bunker for the fifth time and grumbled “I don’t know how you managed to get your handicap down again. I don’t have any time to practice with all the cases I have on my docket.” “Well I’ve got a full docket as well, but I don’t actually try them all. I send every case to volunteer mediators and that reduces my work load by two thirds. And the best bit is it doesn’t cost a penny!” said Judge Fowler lining up a 15 foot putt. Judge Roberts looked confused “Why would anyone volunteer to mediate court cases for free?” “Oh its simple.” replied Judge Fowler beaming as the putt went in. “Thirty years ago we told them it would provide social justice, improve community relations, provide the underprivileged better access to the legal system, and be the first step towards world peace. Don’t you just love it when the socially responsible forget they live in a capitalist system?”
4. Walt Disney once called in a mediator because Tom and Jerry refused to fight.
5. After the mediator completed her introduction she asked the three little pigs to say why they wanted to mediate with the big bad wolf. “He blew my house down.” said one pig. “And mine” said another. “And now my house is practically unlivable – what with 3 pigs all squashed into one room.” squealed the third. “Do you want to say anything Mr. Wolf?” asked the mediator. The wolf looked at the pigs and said “If you hadn’t built such cheap flimsy houses they wouldn’t have fallen down. It’s not my fault if I had a bad cough that day!” Undaunted the mediator pressed on and finally after many grueling hours the mediator read out the agreement that included joint public apologies as part of a new publicity campaign and dividing the intellectual property rights from any media interest. Once everyone had signed, the mediator went to photocopy the agreement. On her way back she saw two pigs bolting out the door – slowly followed by the wolf; looking a lot fatter than when he came in.
6. Charlene was surprised to be called in to the HR manager’s office. “Sit down please.” said Darrel, “I’ll come right to the point. We have had complaints that you’ve been trying to settle disagreements between various members of staff. Is this true?” “Well yes. But I thought I was helping.” replied Charlene a little taken aback. Darrel looked at Charlene and explained “You can’t go round mediating here it’s against company policy; the jobs are extremely dull and low paid. The only reason anyone works here is because they are allowed to grumble and pick fights.”
7. What’s the difference between negotiating and mediation? Negotiation is where people get emotional about the money and mediation is where people get the money after becoming emotional.
8. Jim sat in front of the grievance committee facing multiple counts of ethics violations. “How can you justify the requirement for mediator confidentiality when all your clients’ names are on your website?” demanded the committee chairman. “Oh, that’s easy.” replied Jim “I didn’t use anything they said. All their recommendations are fake.”
9. A mediator, a lawyer and a politician walk into a bar. “Let’s split a bottle of wine.” said the mediator. “No. We should all have our own drinks but split the bill; mine’s a double whiskey.” replied the lawyer. “Let’s compromise.” said the politician “Why don’t you each give me $10 and I’ll buy a bottle of champagne and a bottle of whiskey.” “OK” said the lawyer “That’s a great deal” as he handed over the money. “Fair enough” said the mediator “That’s a win-win for everyone, so here’s my $10.” Later the politician returned with two glasses of water. “Sorry guys! The barman refused to serve me again after I spent the $20 on my cocktail; Oh! Do either of you have any more money for a tip.”
10. Why did the mediator have a car accident? He was driving in the middle of the road.
11. NBC called in a mediator to try to patch up differences between Jay Leno and Conan O’Brian. Everyone came into the conference room and sat down. The mediator is about to start speaking when he gets interrupted by Jay “You can’t do your opening statement sitting down.” “Absolutely!” adds Conan “You have to do the monologue standing up. I thought you guys were supposed to be culturally aware!”
12. A Scotsman and a Jew request to go to mediation over a large sum of money. The mediator asks if they chose mediation because they heard it was cheaper than going to court. “Oh no!” they both reply, “This way we get to haggle face to face without any interference.”
13. What’s the difference between mediation and meditation? Very little – in both you sit for hours listening to mindless talk going nowhere.
14. How many mediators does it take to change a light bulb? Trick question: mediators must not make decisions about whether the bulb needs changing.
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