Friday, May 27, 2005

First Trailblazer Interview!

Today is a Red Letter Day! It's special because today is the first edition of the Trailblazer Interview Series.

You'll meet some of the most fascinating, talented folks in the ADR world who I call Trailblazers. These women and men have taken mediation and other ADR tools in directions no one ever thought about before. They've enhanced the profession, and our world, with their ground-breaking work.
The Trailblazer Interview Series is my way to do a double mitzvahs: honor these remarkable colleagues and bring their wisdom to you.

Today's Trailblazer: Diane J. Levin

Diane J. Levin is a founding principal of Partnering Solutions, LLC, a dispute resolution firm based in the Greater Boston area.

I'm curious. What did you do before your ADR work?

I was a litigator. I worked in a busy general practice firm and handled everything from personal injury to employment discrimination to municipal and public education law, with some probate and family stuff thrown in just to mix it up a little. People who know me now find it hard to believe, but I loved to litigate.

Read more here

Next time we'll talk niches, I promise. In the meantime, check out Vistaprint for your business cards. Not only are the cards inexpensive (specials include 250 cards for $3.99) but they'll even design it for you at no cost!

Ciao! Dina

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Marketing for Mediators

I thought today we'd talk about niches. You know, those little pockets of business, that if deep and narrow enough, can sustain a mediation practice. I have a niche business and find it fascinating because I'm really learning so much about my client's business and challenges.

Instead, I feel compelled to tell you about Robert Middleton and Action Plan Marketing. Yes, it's too early to seriously be thinking about your marketing message. Shoot, I hope you're still figuring out if you want to run a mediation practice and who best to serve. But I couldn't resist because his message today was so relevant.

Read this issue of More Clients here. It'll only take 3 minutes to read and you'll be glad you did.

What's it about? Marketing with Integrity.

For mediators, at least for me, that's the bottom line-integrity. Sure, I want lots of business. Who doesn't? But I don't want to frighten people. You've seen those ads that strike terror and doubt in your heart. In a business that depends so heavily on trust and honesty, fear tactics just don't make sense or good business.

I'm not interested in increasing anyone's fear; I'm committed to decreasing the amount of fear and worry that surround tough conversations at work. It's a small thing that resonates with some people--and those people become my clients.

Concentrate on one or two things you're committed to doing in the mdiation world and make those your focus of your marketing. You'll feel better about marketing your business and yourself.

Now, if you need some help formulating marketing strategy, you gotta get Robert's book, the Infoguru Manual. It's got to be one of the most comforting, easy to use marketing tools I've ever come across. Check out the Infoguru Manual. (And just so you know, neither of these links is an affiliate link. I get zilch for recommending Robert to you except the satisfaction of knowing you'll do better because of his work.)

More on niches soon. And, I hope to have an interview with Diane Levin very soon. You remember, she's the fabulous mediator who writes Online Guide to Mediation,the first woman-owned continuously published ADR blog in the US!

Ciao, Dina

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Quote of the Week

Every now and again, I need a reminder of my basic truths. This quote is my personal bedrock. It comforts me whenever the trails and tribulations of business seem way too much. I offer it to you in the same spirit.

    Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, 'Press on,' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race
    --Calvin Coolidge

Powerful stuff, huh. Woody Allen said it a little funnier,

    80% of success is just showing up.

    Just do it is even simpler.

Every day. Every day you have to do something impactful that obviously moves you closer to having a successful mediation practice. Be determined to see your vision realized and open to whatever form it may take. (Think about it. It's a zen detachment thing.)

One more thing, if you aren't reading Online Guide to Mediation, you should be. Diane Levin of Partnering Solutions pens this interesting blog which is full of must-know information about mediation, new trends like blawgs and the global community. I read it religiously, particularly since yours truly was mentioned recently. Seriously, get the RSS feed because when Diane, a skillful mediator and innovative entrepreneur speaks, people listen.

Ciao, Dina

Friday, May 20, 2005

Dina Beach Lynch Posted by Hello

Hey, I was trying out some new software called Hello. It supposedly allows one to upload photos to a blog. Here's my picture. So far, so good. Of course, I intended for it be in the profile section. What lesson in 'intent and impact', huh.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Can You Make any Money in Mediation?

I'm tired of people saying you can't make a living at mediation. You can. You can make money in this profession. I've fed my family, and you can feed yours, too.

Think of the mediation world as a pyramid. At the very tip are the stars of mediation. Those highly successful, highly sought-after, highly paid professionals are at the pinnacle of their careers for a reason. (They are also mostly men but I won't start that rant now.)

Let's take a slightly closer look at Eric Green's career for clues as to why he's been so successful. (In case you don't know, Eric serves as mediator in high visibility cases like the Microsoft antitrust case and Enron.)

Eric Green is an innovator. He's constantly looking to move the profession and himself forward. Eric developed the first 'mini-trial' (a mock trial used for settlement purposes) in 1977 which changed the face of litigation. He founded two ADR firms- JAMS/Endispute and Resolutions, which offered new business models for mediators. As an innovator, he's at the front of the pack, setting the pace for everyone else to follow.

Take you and your mediation practice to new, unusual areas by inventing something, or formulating new practice methods. Being an innovator can lead to a prosperous career, so why not take the chance and put your unique spin on things?

Because if you're not at the front, you're at the back of the pack. And, from there the view doesn't change much, if you catch my drift.

More on innovators like Diane Levin and ::blush:: me soon. Ciao, Dina

PS. Bravo, Michael! He wrote in to the comment area and suggested as another good business resource portal. I write for Zeromillion it's terrific.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

What Do You Bring to the Table?

Yesterday, you did a bit of soul-searching about recognizing your own capacity to run a business. Knowing the answer seems critical to getting started and having the 'cahones' to pull the whole thing off. If you don't know, I dare say, don't start yet.

Today, I spent my morning co-teaching a course with my dear friend and colleague, David Hoffman, Esq. who reminded me how much the personal qualities of a mediator can be a factor in mediation.

Each mediator, he says, brings her own special brand of peacemaking into the mediation room. (Read more about David and his book, Bringing Peace into the Room by visiting at Boston Law Collaboratve

So the question is: what gifts do you bring to the table as a mediator??

Dig deep, people. Don't go for the obvious answer. Ask yourself what is it
about your presence, your spirit, your life that enables you to serve others in
conflict? Take your time. Think back on past mediations for clues.

There will be days when you doubt yourself (and your clients will doubt you,too). It's important to have this bit of self-knowledge when things are tough.

What do I bring? The answer has changed over time. Years ago, it was my light-heartedness and quick wit that kept my mediations on track.

Now, it's my patience, my optimism and my deep belief in people and the process. I've witnessed some amazing settlements that couldn't have happened anywhere except mediation. My faith motivates me and my parties.

You can make comments on this post, you know.

Ciao, Dina

Monday, May 16, 2005

Are You Ready to Run a Business?

Pretty simple question, isn't it.

Have you taken the time to consider whether you really want all the duties, responsibilities, joys and headachs of running a business. And make no mistake, a mediation practice of any size is a small business!

Now is a good time to figure that out. Luckily the Internet is awash with resources for emerging entrepreneurs. You can read more and take a quick quiz here.

If you know you're ready (and who could talk you out of it anyway!), start gathering business knowledge by visiting these resources:

    Entreworld One of the most robust portal sites for entrepreneurship. A very good place to start your research and learn about business planning. It looks intimidating but there are gems in there for the persistent. Janet Attard, site owner, has long been a strong resource for small business owners. Her site is full of clear, easy to implement strategies and tips for launching businesses. The how to sell artices are especially good.

Check out these websites. Just don't forget to talk to some real-live business owners, hopefully mediators, too. It ain't always like what ya read in books. And wouldn't you rather know now that you aren't interested in running a business?

Ciao, Dina

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Boldness and More

Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it. - Goethe

This is the beginning of Mediation Mensch. And hopefully the beginning of your journey to launch a mediation practice. I'm Dina Beach Lynch, your Mensch.

Mediation Mensch is your partner as you launch your mediation practice.

Throughout my career as a Mediator and Ombudsman, many wonderful, resourceful people have shown me the path to new opportunities or helped focus my boundless energy so that I could accomplish my goals.This blog is my way of offering the same guidance, resources and optimistic view to all of you. It's sort of my way of saving thanks to all those giants whose shoulders I stand upon.

How does Mediation Mensch work?

It's an interactive thing. I'll post
  • interesting business models
  • useful websites
  • time-saving technology
  • and best practices
essential to launching a robust, profitable mediation practice. Your mission-should you chose to accept it- is to comment back, ask questions, raise issues for friendly debate, and share resources and do the hard work of launching a business.

The goal is for you to launch your practice in a 'work smarter, not harder' way. Like most things, this blog will be as good as we all make it.

BONUS: Mediaiton Mensch will post interviews with well known ADR professionals like Diane Levin, David Hoffman and Charles Doran discussing how they entered the field and what advice they would offer to you, the new mediator/business owner. Definitely come back for the first interview!

Your feedback is critical to everyone's learning.

Having launched two mediation training companies and now running I know how tough it can be to take that leap of faith. I'm here to cushion those irst steps, but I'm not the only one with great ideas. Please write in often. Share what you know and enrich the entire community. And, don't hesitate to tell me what would make Mediation Mensch even better!

OK, see you again soon...