By Tania Almeida *

The book Mediation Toolbox - practical and theoretical contributions (Dash Editora) inaugurates the Read Comigo project. As in my training, multidisciplinarity is a strong feature of the work, which does not favor research lines or particular theoretical-practical contributions. 

Interdisciplinarity provides greater wealth of purposes and interventions for Mediation. It also contributes to a diversity of tools that, together, should be at the service of the mediated theme, the profile of the mediators, the timing, the style of the mediator, the impact that is intended to promote or achieve.

The title presents some singularities, such as the possibility of quick consultation to a practical resource available in Chapter I, and the immediate access to the theoretical substrate that supports it, contemplated in Chapter II.

The selection criteria below was to recall subtle and little mentioned interventions in teaching and reading, and to complement them with reflections collected in years of practice. All the highlights are addressed to the mediators in their task of coordinating the dialogue.

Mediator: attentive and plural listening 

We need to be aware of the possibility that the colonization of discourses impel mediators and mediators to pursue a single agenda, with the aim of identifying solutions for a particular topic. The focus on the first speech presented, the subject most impactful (for the mediators, or even for the mediator himself), or the one exposed with greater vehemence, are examples. 

In Mediation, all guidelines are multi-thematic, since conflicts are multifactorial - they can be relational, financial, social, legal, among others. The direction of the dialogue will always be the one favored by those involved, but the diversity of themes and views will need to be highlighted by the multifocal lens of the mediators.

Helping those involved to articulate needs and possibilities it is the reality filter that allows to dry some negotiations. This irrefutable scenario imposed by reality puts all those involved in action to reach consensus: those who have needs that are unlikely to be met need to prioritize them; and those who have less possibilities than those required to serve the other need to try to expand them.

Here I take a ride to talk about the mediator as reality agent, bringing it under the feet of the mediators, especially regarding the feasibility and feasibility of the understandings reached, a sieve through which all alternative solutions must pass.




The convergence of ideas is greatly favored if listening to mediators can permanently, transform “or” into “e”. The antagonism of ideas sometimes advances to the proposition of alternatives, and to understand how they complement each other is the task of the mediator. This differentiated listening, which records everything and tries to bring it closer together, must also be attentive to the moral and ethical values ​​brought to the table. The conformity of values ​​deconstructs impasses and circumvents divergences.

Repetitions and vehement speeches tend to express priorities - in the difficulty of listening, mediators have important information in this register to clarify and, consequently, accept and legitimize. Sometimes, the agenda of repetition or exaltation is inhabited by intangible values, especially recognition, trust and respect, which need to become concrete when translated into actions. Clarify the meaning of words or expressions abstract - transforming them into actions - it is also the task of mediators. 

What needs to happen for trust to be restored, for respect to be resumed, or for those involved to feel recognized?

To conclude our reading today, a pout-pourri
of reflections:

(i) always check the time necessary for each stage of Mediation, so that the best of all stages is explored and we can “increase the pie” (
expend the pie) before slicing it;

(ii) the self-explanatory questions offered in the private interviews invite each mediator to identify their contribution to the disagreement - when everyone can perceive themselves as part of the problem, they need, consequently, to be involved in the solution;

(iii) we will take care that mediators always leave the room with the perception that they have been heard and understood, and that their presence and offer of information has been welcomed and valued - abstracts are an excellent tool to provoke this perception;

(iv) finally, let us always leave the numbers at the end of the conversation. The numerical data they anchor perceptions and alternatives (more than X or less than X) and should only appear when the pie has already been expanded. Then, yes, it's time to slice!

Mediation Toolbox - practical and theoretical contributions, by Tania Almeida
Dash Publisher, 2014 - 1st edition
352 pages

In the next Read with me, let's visit Daniel Shapiro’s ideas and practical tools in his book Negotiating the Non-Negotiable. Until then!


* Tania Almeida - Master in Conflict Mediation and Facilitator of Dialogues between individuals and / or legal entities. For 40 years, it has been designing and coordinating dialogue processes aimed at mapping, crisis prevention, change management and conflict resolution. She is the creator and founder of the MEDIARE System, a set of three entities dedicated to dialogue - research, service provision, education and social projects.


Also check out the e-Books IN A FEW WORDS… by Tania Almeida clicking here.