Monday, October 27, 2008

Mensch has moved

Pssst, we moved Mediation Mensch to a new platform and a new host. You can get the most recent posts at Come on over!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mensch Gets a Blog Makeover

Over 50,000 words. And, that's not even total amount I've written about mediation marketing, online marketing and finding the right niche since 2005, when I launched

I look back on those early days so fondly. I felt like a pioneer, braving the new world of the Internet. Times changes. The Internet absolutely changes. And so, good blogs should evolve, too. That's why I'm proud to announce that after a short hiatus, the Mensch will return with a brand new look, feel and focus.

What's Changing?

First, let me tell you what will definitely NOT change. My commitment to helping mediators build and grow profitable practices. That's still a passion for me personally and a wish for the profession. I'll still do my best to introduce you to appropriate marketing approaches, tactics and techniques for getting new clients and delivering meaningful products to your current clients. Hopefully, my sense of curiosity and humor will remain intact, too.

Now, let me walk you through what WILL be different when the Mensch returns.

New Blog Platform: Moving from Blogger to Wordpress

As I mentioned earlier, Mensch is transitioning to a self-hosted WP platform with a little help from Ryan Burns of Why?

The flexibility and power of WP was undeniable and irresistible. The community is so large it's easy to get answers to your blogging questions and find new resources. It's simply better.

Don't get me wrong. I still think Blogger is great, especially for brand new bloggers who might be a tad techno-phobic and want a 1 click system. That's a fine starting point. Eventually, (I hope) you'll want to branch out, get more readers, and really promote your blog. When you have a hosted WP site will be an easy upgrade.

I'm switching because I want to track my progress more easily and reach even more readers. The goal is to double my RSS subscribers this year. Besides, I'm already hosting there with great results.

New Blogging Voice

No, that doesn't mean I'm getting a voicelift, although it is kinda deep and husky. When I launched I didn't have a blogging style or voice. I simply wrote about what interested me, what I was interested in learning or sharing. Some folks liked that, others not so much. It made the blog a bit of a marketing hodge-podge that drained the value out of the posts.

Going forward, I plan to write more in-depth, comprehensive posts about fewer topics; namely, blogging, podcasting, social media and information products. There'll also be more direct links to the products, services, coaches that I trust.

New Publication Schedule

The Mensch will be published on Tuesdays each week. A more consistent schedule will be good for everyone: you'll get good content regularly to inspire, inform and nudge you to action; and I'll be able to automate the whole thing with Wordpress.

Relaunch target: March 31st July 1, 2008

Ok, I'll see you all back here for the grand kickoff on March 31st. Meanwhile, do go over to these new blogs and show them some link love:

Conflict Matters by Roy Baroff
Co-Family Solutions by Mary Wollard
Mediator in the Making

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mediation vs Arbitration Clauses- Which to Choose?

Got a Visa card, Mastercard or almost any other credit card? Then you, my friend, are now subject to an arbitration clause. That means you agreed to waive your right to a jury trial should a dispute arise. Same thing with your telephone agreement, health insurance and bank loans, according to, a portal site for credit card information. Mandatory arbitration clauses appear in both consumer and employment contracts, often without the knowledge of the signer.

More companies test arbitration clauses

Large companies draft contracts with arbitration clauses to reduce their exposure and risk. Now smaller companies are using the same tactics to address customer concerns. Generally, I'm in favor of resolving issues outside of the court house. However, there are reasons why I favor a mediation clause over arbitration.

Why Mediation Clauses are Better than arbitration

A member of recently consulted with a client about trying a mediation clause instead of arbitration. She brought the question to our Discussion Forum where we brainstormed some positive arguments for using mediation.

Here's what we came up with:

    So, the question is: how to persuade the client to do a mediation clause instead of an arbitration clause, right?

    Have you inquired as to why the client prefers arbitration? Is it because that's the process they are familiar with, or is there a substantive reason that they prefer that method?

    One reason might be that arbitrations make precedence- a defineable, predictable outcome that the company (and others) can rely upon. Another reason is that the durability of an arbitrated agreement is greater than that of a mediated one.

    Knowing their reasoning will help you understand their underlying interests and easily meet their objections, or give you a reason to say yes to the plans.

    Here are the reasons I think mediation clauses work well:

    1. Mediation clauses signal to employees, vendors and clients that the company is collaboration-focused and sees issues as oppportunities to build understanding as well as fix concerns. Consumers are savvy enough to look for them.

    2. Mediation clauses allow companies to engage in discussion privately, as to the meeting and the outcome. Therefore, there may be a greater willingness to settle and to settle more generously. Company saves reputation and clients get a nicer/better outcome.

    3. Mediation is less costly than both arbitration and litigation. I think I heard somewhere the average per diem for an arbitrator was around $5k/day- but don't quote me.

    4. Mediation allows for a timely resolution, whereas there's little flexibility or urgency with arbitration or litigation.

    5. Mediation repairs more than the legal issues. It allows parties to address the emotions and tangential issues that are part of the dispute that cannot or will not be addressed in the other forums.

    6. Mediation is empowering because it puts the parties in control of their own destiny. Parties learn valuable lessons about cooperation and negotiation at the mediation table that are often carried into other areas their lives. In a company this can mean a shift in culture or climate.

More Reasons, please

Of course, this list isn't exhaustive. The more facts, data, argument we can share the better we can serve our clients. What are your reasons for suggesting that mediation clauses should replace civil dispute arbitration clauses?

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!



Thursday, February 07, 2008

Innovative Marketing by Family Law Mediator/Family Therapist Team

A Day in the Life: Attorney/Mediator and Therapist Mediation Team- Diana Mercer, Esq. and Tara Fass, LMFT 2/11/08 10 am PST/ 1 pm EST

Frankly, I can't wait for Monday's call. The conversation I had with Tara and Diana this week was fascinating.

We touched on everything from the usefulness of lawyer referrals to how set fees to their worst marketing mistake (which they graciously agreed to share on the call). These ladies have opinions & they're not afraid to share them. That's why I know we'll get the nitty-gritty details about their innovative practice.

Multidisciplinary Mediation Practice

I'm a big fan of multidisciplinary practice. As an affiliate of the Boston Law Collaborative, a multidisciplinary family law firm lead by master mediator, David Hoffman, I know first-hand how powerful it can be to have the benefit of an entire team- mediator/attorney, therapist, financial planner, parenting expert- available to assist a family. It's a much more holistic approach and one that Diana and Tara share in their practice at

What Could This Mean for You?

Not to toot my own horn, but an opportunity like this doesn't come along everyday. Don't miss your chance to ask two savvy mediators and businesswomen for their marketing insights and tactics. I certainly want to know more about their plans to take their business to the million dollar mark, don't you?!

If you know someone- another mediator or therapist- you think
could benefit, why not invite him or her to join you on the call.
Register here or put this link in your browser:

Scheduling conflict? No worries. Registrants always get a digital recording as a bonus.

See you then!
Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Learn to Blog- Video Tutorials for Mediators

Seeing is believing. In this case, seeing is learning.

Year of the Blog

This is THE year of the blogger for mediators as I proclaimed in an earlier post. And, it's time to get started. I'm planning a blogtasitc event for April that will bring a variety of blogging professionals directly into your home. (if mediators won't come to blogging, I'll bring blogging to you!) It'll be a free virtual conference ....more on that as the planning progresses.

But if you're as excited as I am about having your message and expertise help thousands of people you probably don't want to wait. Good for you. Start now.

Yaro Starak of has created what looks like a stellar series on becoming a blogger. You can see ( and learn)more at his new site,

In ten videos, Yaro covers all the basics of blogging:

    1. Why You Should Use WordPress
    2. How To Get Your Own Domain Name
    3. How To Get A Web Host
    4. How To Install WordPress With One Click
    5. How To Upload Files To Your Webhost Using FTP
    6. Choosing A WordPress Theme For Your New Blog
    7. How To Install And Use WordPress Plugins
    8. How To Create Your First Blog Post And Blog Page
    9. What RSS Is And Why You Need It
    10. How To Use Feedburner For Supercharging Your RSS Capabilities

Known for his blogging expertise and having one of the most popular systems, Blog Mastermind, Yaro is definitely a guy to watch. In fact, I'll be spending my evenings viewing the videos on wordpress and RSS. My new blog, will launch at the end of the month and this will help alot!

I don't have any connection to Yaro, nor am I his affiliate. I'm simply overjoyed to find a product that I can recommend to you. Hey, maybe I can get Yaro to headline the Mediation Blog Summit in April....keep your fingers crossed.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Ask Mediation Mensch a Mediation Marketing Question

It's an occupational hazard, and maybe hazardous to my health (you heard about the cat, right?), but I love to ask questions. And, I hope you do, too.

Got Questions?

I write this blog with the intention of sharing what I know and learn about mediation, online and social media marketing with you. Most of the time I think I hit the mark, encouraging you to take chances or try a new tech tool. But, sometimes, the conversation feels a bit one-sided. So,if there's a question about marketing your mediation or ADR practice- let 'er rip! ( a big shout-out to Darren Rowse of for this great idea)

I'll personally answer as many questions as I can then the remaining ideas will become the basis for more content this year. It's gonna be fun finding guest writers and presenters.

By the way, we're doing something similar at We established Learning Circles- Workplace and Family- to dig deeper into each niche. We're already exploring some great tactical questions like how to select a topic for a blog; when and how to tell clients raising fees and how to create passive income products. I want to bring that juice and know-how to the blog.

Yep, Any Question

So, what are you waiting for? If you're ready to make a good living as a mediator, jot down your question in the comments below.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


PS Due to a glitch some folks may receive this post twice. Sorry, we're working to repair things now. d

Monday, January 28, 2008

Blog, Blog, Blog, Mediation Blog World!

2008 is the year of the mediation blog, people!

The blogging world is exploding with new ideas, formats, creative uses and money! Mediators, we got to get in now because the popularity and power of blogging is only going to grow.

Why Blog?

Because blogging is one of the most compelling and egalitarian communication tools around. Each mediator has the ability to reach hundreds of thousands with his or her message and get an answer back.

And while it's true that a new blog is created almost every second, according to reports by Technorati and other blog monitors, that doesn't mean your blog will get lost. Create a micro-niche with a very tailored message and your blog will be a magnet for those who need your services, even in a very crowded field.

Why Mediators?

Why not? Our business is about communication, for heavens sake. We have to start talking to our markets. Each blog can be a mini learning center to share the process, experience and potential results with prospective clients.

Within the profession,we have to start talking to each other- mediator-to-mediator more with blogs. Long ago when Diane Levin and I launched the ADR Web Ring, we hoped more mediators would join us in the blogosphere. Many did join in and create thoughtful, useful blogs. ( No better examples than Mediator blah, blah and Settle it Now) There's room for more. I'd love to see our online community reach the volume and variety of blogs and discussion found in the blogging world.

Why Now?

It's the right time for a couple of reasons.

Blogs make money
. Blogging is beginning to get monetized in a serious way. Bloggers like John Chow claim to make upwards of $25K per month. Yeah, I'm a bit skeptical, too, but not so much I won't try to find out more.

Blogging is fun. The tech tools are getting easier to use. The income strategies are pretty creative. Of course, not every technique recommended by online gurus is going to be appropriate for a professional practice like mediation, however, many will be adaptable. Information products and Amazon stores come to mind.

Blogging is low-cost. The most popular platforms and are still free and probably always will be. So, there's no real cost barrier to blogging. However, as blog design and functionality evolves, it'll be harder to be attractive and competitive with a free blog platform. ( I'm planning to shift to Wordpress for just this very reason.)

More to Come on Blog Design and Launch

Yep, this is definitely the year of the blog for mediation. Our Spring Learning Series from March to May will focus exclusively on the how-tos and why's of launch, design and promotion for your blog. It doesn't have to be overwhelming and you don't have to do it alone. Hopefully, I'll have the pleasure of sharing the stories and blogs of a few mediation/ADR bloggers in an interview or two.

I'm excited to see what you all come up with. So, please drop me a comment below to share your blogging plans, especially if you're just starting out.

My new baby boomer blog,, will launch in February (from my mouth to G-d's ear). I'm still kicking around branding, but my tagline will be something like (feel free to kibitz):

This Marriage Thing
Conversations that redefine marriage, boomerhood and what comes next... OR

This Marriage Thing
Conversations for folks who want to be happy and married...

This is a side project that's kind of an experiment in combining the new viral and social media marketing techniques like Stumbleupon and podcasting. Should be fun and I hope you come along for the ride.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!