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U MEDIATION K JOURNAL


Ruth Fenton is a Mediator with “Inspired Resolution” and an Executive Leadership Trainer with “Inspired Star” specialising in Body Language. Ruth’s qualifications include: Accredited Mediator, PGDip ICA, Solicitor (non-practicing), BA (Hons), Micro Expressions Trainer,


Strategic


Intervention Coach, Master Neuro-Strategist and Certified Practitioner of Hypnotherapy.


Mediations can be a stressful time, with emotions running high. Equally, parties may hide what is really going on inside to save face or to cover up something. This is where understanding and applying body language and micro expressions is key. Let’s say an employee claims he is being bullied by his manager. The company would like to avoid expensive legal fees and publicity, so decide mediation is the best way forward.


The mediator first builds rapport and trust. This is done by, amongst other techniques, matching and mirroring the larger body language movements of the other person. Next, the mediator looks for vital clues in the accuracy of the information they are being told compared with the facial expressions of the person.


When the mediator sees a certain facial expression on a person’s face they can use certain questions and assumptions to get the person to repeat the expression or react unconsciously to a statement. This gives the mediator a clear indication of what is


really going on


inside the person’s mind. Time is reduced as targeted questions can be asked based on what the mediator sees, rather than just what they hear.


Here’s an example of how mediators use micro expressions in mediation. The employee says, “My employer was pleased with my work on that project.” The mediator sees the micro expression of anger on the face of the employee when he mentions “my employer” this indicates the employee maybe angry towards his employer. Timing is critical to give the sentence its meaning. So to check this, the mediator could ask, “Why was your employer pleased with your work on that project?” Chances are when the


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To find out more about body language and facial expressions please contact Ruth Fenton at ruth.fenton@inspiredstar.net or visit www.inspiredstar.net


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mediator says “employer” the facial expression of anger will briefly appear again to confirm there are further questions which need to be asked around the topic of the employer, rather than the project performance.


This technique also works in negotiations. For example, when discussing salary expectations with a potential candidate, you may say, “We normally pay an annual salary of around £30k.” Look for the facial expression at the price point. If you see the micro expression of anger or sadness, you know that the salary may be an obstacle to the candidate’s acceptance of the job, and that you may need to alter your offer.


In short, recognising, understanding and appreciating the feelings of our fellow humans really does make a difference to people’s lives. Clients will receive a better experience and feel their needs have been taken care of in a more authentic way. Learning micro expressions is fun and rewarding, and is an essential skill for any HR professional, manager or mediator.


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