Mediation and Improv

ACCORD, A Center for Dispute Resolution, Inc., is excited for the months to come as we partner with our mediators to generate new  and creative ways to develop the most sustainable volunteer and organizational culture. We are dedicated to serving our community members in Broome and Tioga Counties with the best alternative dispute resolution services, training, and advocacy. Our mission is to bring peaceful alternatives to conflict through our programming,  but we cannot do it without help from our talented mediator pool.

We are moving to a new way of thinking about mediation and the ways in which we enhance our “mediator toolboxes” to benefit not only ourselves as mediators, but most importantly, to benefit the clients we serve each and every day. ACCORD is always seeking to help our mediators build on current skill sets that align with the New York State Standards of Conduct for Mediators and use the most powerful ways to help others. Interestingly enough, there is a connection between mediation and improvisational techniques. Those of us at ACCORD would love to move toward taking a “Yes, and” approach and learn more about mediation and improv.

Keeping a “Yes, and” mindset will allow for mediators to become more creative and innovative especially while in a mediation session where the power of collaboration truly comes to life. When you walk into a mediation session with a “No” or “Yes, but” mindset, it can have a negative impact on the quality of the session. Walking into a mediation, mediators, must be calm and centered, have a positive attitude, and be willing to explore potential options to help individuals, families, or organizations to better communicate. With that said, it is necessary to have an open mind.

By taking the “Yes, and” approach, not only with our verbals but also our non-verbals, we can make parties feel accepted, create a safer space for them to open up and share their needs and feelings, and also increase their willingness to engage in the process of brainstorming in order to develop endurable solutions to the issue(s) at hand. This idea is also useful when working with a co-mediator. One of the challenges, we may face, is working with a new co-mediator each session. Nevertheless, we must work together to best demonstrate our unity and instill confidence within the parties regarding the overall mediation process.

For our March continuing education session, we will focus on mediation successes and challenges as well as some mediation and improv scenarios. For more information, feel free to contact Tasha Taylor, ADR Coordinator, at



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s