Conflict prevention: read twice, send once

You may have heard the carpenter’s rule to measure twice and cut once. I’d say there is a similar rule for written communications, especially those you send to people with whom you may find yourselves in conflict (currently or in the future.)  Write the message — be it a tweet, text, email, blog post or even an old-fashioned letter.  Then read it once — are you clear, are there typos? Then — here’s the hardest part — read it a second time. This time, read from the perspective of the reader. What will that person think you meant?  Are you confident that the message that will be received is the one that you wanted to send? The misunderstandings from a hastily-drafted written (usually typed at a keyboard) missive are legion. A careful read can stop the conflict before it starts.

Mediation is an effective, flexible process. But any mediator worth her or his salt will tell that it’s better to prevent the conflict in the first place than to engage in conflict resolution later.

Posted in Basics of Mediation and Conflict, Tuesday, January 31st, 2012