I am in my third month now serving as Director of Foreclosure Mediation for RSI. When I visit our foreclosure mediation programs in Rockford, Geneva and Waukegan now, I get to greet people with “great to see you again” instead of “nice to meet you.” There is a natural sense of relief in knowing which exit to take off of the I-90 to get to Rockford or which side of the train tracks to board to get to Chicago from Waukegan. I remain surprised, however, at how quickly our brains adjust to and anticipate routines and processes after we’ve done something even once before.
This feeling of settling in has clear value for those of us involved in mediation, but it poses risks as well. As experts in our respective roles, we need to remember that not all parties to the process have experienced before what they are now going through. Whether we are mediators delivering our opening statements or program staff people explaining the mediation process, it is important to remember that at least some members of our audience are likely hearing the words we’re saying for the first time. (more…)