Wednesday, August 30, 2006

3 Keys to Unlock Mediator Income

You are cordially invited to attend this no cost special event.

Wish you knew the secret to attracting clients effortlessly?

Dina Beach Lynch, mediator and Business Mensch, will share her tactics and tips during a free teleseminar, "3 Keys to Unlock Mediator Income", on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 at 4 to 5 p.m. EST

Discover how online marketing tools like social networking and blogging can bring paying clients to your door without selling. Don’t miss this practical, informative talk.

Or, call 617 553-0423. It's free!
(The bridge line is limited so register early.)

Who Should Attend

If you are curious about the basics of developing a practice and/or about how online marketing tools benefit mediators, this call is for you.

I'm really excited about this open enrollment call because it offers tips for individual practitioners - newbies and veterans alike - and works for groups.

If you are part of a mediator group or association and want to schedule a session exclusively for your members, email me.

I'm convinced that mediators can do good in the world and make a good living doing it and that's why I'm hosting this call. I hope to "see" you there!

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


Friday, August 25, 2006

Red Letter Day! Oprah likes Conflict

You heard it hear first! Managing conflict is becoming mainstream with consumers. Ask me how I know and I'll cite the recent article in the September
issue of O Magazine.

Conflict Expert Featured in O

In an article entitled, "The Two Self-Defeating Habits of Otherwise Brilliant People", the author profiles the work of "corporate peacekeeper", Anna Maravelas, who believes that knee-jerk anger and self-blame create much of the conflicts at work (what a great title).

Maravelas, author of How to Reduce Workplace Conflict and Stress, is a psychologist by training and now works with companies to eliminate lose-lose behaviors that jeopardize the bottom line. While I can't comment on the book until I read it, I can say based on the article, that she's put a hipper spin on a few of the common themes in workplace DR. (If anyone reads the book I'd be curious to read your thoughts in the comment area.)

Hitting the Big Time!

Okay, I know, another book about workplace conflict isn't exactly earth-shattering. But people, this book and author got the attention of Oprah, or at least her editors. That means that Jane Q. Public who reads Oprah now knows that there are people and processes that can help her deal with conflict at work. That's critically important.

We, mediators, tend to believe that mainstream folks see mediation as a choice
for problem-solving. Truth is, unless the matter is a divorce, mediation probably doesn't rate in the top five choices. I say this based on a conversation I once had at a party where upon hearing what I did for a living the guest responded, "I didn't know you could do that. I always thought you had to go to a lawyer to solve problems." See?

What We Do with our 15 Minutes?

We seize them like a former reality TV star would do! Put in other words,
we need to maximize the media exposure by sharing it. The more we talk about how more people are recognizing the value of conflict work and mediation, the more people actually will value it. Every one of us needs to spread the word.

What can you do?

1. Write a letter to O magazine praising the article.
2. Send a note to your local paper tying it to your practice.
3. Post an appropriate message on the Oprah message boards.
4. Write an article commenting on the author's views and publish online.

Of course, this list isn't complete but it should offer a starting place. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Right now holds untold opportunities for growth
for our field and our individual practices. The tools and attitudes are there for mediators to have successful, profitable practices if we chose to learn, engage and practice as business people.

To paraphrase Oprah, this is what I know for sure:

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

My New Secret Weapon

I have discovered a secret weapon for conquering the Internet marketing world!

True, over the years I've accumulated a lot of knowledge about using the Internet
to attract clients, become known, and sell products. From copy-writing to search engine optimization to article syndication, I've learned a thing or two about all of them.

Guess what?

I have to learn it all again! Why?

Because the Internet evolves every day. Something that worked, well, even
six months ago may not work now. Meta tags used to be all the rage. You couldn't get a good Google ranking without the right ones. Now, nobody really bothers with them. The next big thing is Google site maps. Go figure.

Everyone has to keep up and that includes me. (And you, too.)

I discovered a new article submission site called Unlike most article sites it has a focus that's limited to Internet marketing.

Warning: It's not exactly on point for mediators, but there are some great ideas that can be adapted to our use. Drop by and check them out.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


PS If you like recommendations (and who doesn't like to avoid doing something dumb?) check out Dina Recommends on

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Marketing Tips from Hell's Kitchen

Anyone else obsessed with Gordon Ramsey and Hell's Kitchen? It's one of those reality shows (OK, so it's not Masterpiece Theater) where contestants attempt to win their dream job- running a million dollar restaurant in Las Vegas.

During the season finale on Monday I realized they had cooked up some fairly good lessons for mediator/marketers. Taste these and see how you like them:

Have a Vision

Chef Ramsey challenged each of the final two contestants to create their vision of a Vegas restaurant from the menu's signature dish right down to the linens and wait staff clothing. Each piece was meant to work flawlessly with every other to create a perfect experience.

If you want to have a thriving mediation practice, you need a vision of what experience you want to create for your disputants. What will the overall experience be like? Be specific. Will you have an opening ritual, have candy, or use aromatherapy? Whatever you choose will help differentiate you in the market (within reason people).

I heard of one firm that has it's offices in a forest with a terrific view. Mediating in such a lush, calming setting sets the tone for successful mediations and clients pay for that experience. What sets you apart from the crowd? What's your vision, your signature dish'?

Be Your Own Kind of Leader

I've trained thousands of people and at each training I say there's not one way to be a good mediator. Each person develops their own style. Some of the aspiring chefs (like Virginia) got into trouble when they tried to use Ramsey's loud, foul, bullying style to run their kitchen crews. They failed to be their own kind of leader.

Mediator/Marketers have to take the best of what's available and make it relevant in the world of DR. I've had great success with much of the techniques I've borrowed from mainstream business (blogging, article syndication, online PR) but I've also had my stinkers (including the current design of It's getting an extreme makeover soon!) I'm becoming more of my own kind of mediation marketing leader.

Eat Your Own Cooking

Translated that means believe in mediation, in general, and your own services, in particular. You can and do help people. You've seen how deeply satisfying and cathartic mediation can be for people. You know the power of hope and communication. Don't hold back. Believe it. Say it. The word will spread. Would you try a new restaurant if no one, not even the chef, said it was good? Probably not. (Taken from another perspective, this tip might also mean experience what it's like to be the disputant. I have. It's very enlightening.)

I'll miss Chef Ramsey

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow.


PS Anyone going to the ACR conference in Philly this year? I'm speaking at two sessions and I'd love to meet some Mensch readers.

Monday, August 14, 2006

You Get What You Pay For

Ok, people. I'm a bit perplexed and discouraged. I need some feedback.

Thoroughout my career I've had wonderful folks to guide and help me. Too many to name, in fact. Over the 14 years I've been practicing as a mediator and Ombuds I've always given away time to help others who want to enter the field.

Recently, I was privileged to hear from a Polish mediator who is in the first stages of building a family mediation practice in a country that is very new to mediation as a tool. It felt great to help him get connected to the friends I have who are accomplished and generous ( a big thank you to John Fiske, a vanguard thinker in the field). I feel like I continue to honor the people who contributed to my success.

So here's why I'm vexed.

New mediators who hear about ADR Practice Builder don't want to pay for coaching. I'm told that coaching, resources to move a practice ahead and make connections, is a bit pricey.

Sure, I'm happy to answer a question or two, but at this point I think my expertise and network are valuable and worth a small fee. Am I wrong? I've intentionally kept the fees at ADR Practice Builder low so there's no real entry barrier to people who understand that this is a business. I'm committed to helping people enter the field and be successful.

I get letters describing how helpful and encouraging my work is, so why is it so hard for mediators to actually invest in themselves?

I ask you, what am I missing here? Really, I want your comments.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Mediators Compete!

Shocking, isn’t it? It’s absolutely true.

Mediators compete for clients instead of working collaboratively. We compete for a variety of reasons; however, having a scarcity mentality tops the list. A scarcity mentality reinforces the notion that there are not enough paying clients for everyone. Your gain is my loss, so to speak. Action or thoughts seem to flow from a place of fear and uncertainty, rather than confidence and hope.

Abundance Mentality

I like to work from an abundance mentality. That means there’s an abundant pool of work available to anyone and everyone who wants it. I like to say we’re in a recession-proof industry. As long as there are human beings there’ll be conflict to resolve, even amongst the most skillful communicators!

My challenge is to find paying clients with needs that match my unique talents. It’s not a matter of if but when I find these clients because I’m not the only one looking. I have a team of champions who look too.

Select a Team of Champions

You can create your own Team of Champions. It can’t be just anybody (well, I suppose it could but you might not get the results we’re talking about) I fill my team with ADR professionals I admire and trust. It can be folks that I’ve worked with in the past or hope to work with in the future. Mainly, I like want teammates that share my thinking about ‘doing good and doing well financially’.

Then the fun begins. I study my champions and their work. We talk, email and share our perspectives. Aside from being a great learning opportunity, I also grow comfortable enough to confidently refer clients to them. I love being able to say, ‘I have just the right person for you’. Best of all my fellow champions do the same for me. I know that when something ‘just up my alley’ crosses his or her desk I’ll get a call. We collaborate, not compete.

Diving for pearls usually comes to mind when I talk this. Imagine that you have to dive into the murky, dark waters to find oysters that contain black pearls. Alone, your work is slow, tiring and doesn’t reap much benefit. But what happens when you team up with a diver seeking only pink pearls? You’re twice as likely to each find the gems you seek with less effort and more encouragement.

What does this mean to you? Ask yourself: do I have a scarcity mentality? What can I do today to create and support my own team of champions?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Disrupt Your Comfort Zone

Not to sound like a pledge drive, but I love National Public Radio (NPR).
We listen every morning. I especially like the new programming called "This I
Believe". It's regular folks and some famous folks talking about what they
believe in this world. Sometimes it's informative, thrilling or just plain funny.
It's always thought-provoking.

Recently, I heard the famous producer, Brian Grazer (The DaVinci Code), talk about why he chases down some fairly amazing people to spend time in their company. Now, I don't want to ruin things. You should go to and listen to "Disrupt Your Comfort Zone" for yourself.

What I did want to share was a quote Brian mentioned. It's something that I truly believe:

"If you are not growing, you are dying."

I live to grow and learn. I'm delighted to try new things, to explore and
change direction. So much so that a friend teases me about how greedy I am
about life. She accuses me of trying to cram at least five lives into this one.

Guilty as charged.

My question to you: Are you growing, or...?

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Great Savings at Action Plan Marketing!

You’ve heard me rave about Robert Middleton and his system that helps service professionals market easier and better.  He really knows his stuff and he should—he’s celebrating his 22nd anniversary right now.

Today is the last day to get any of Robert’s proven products at a 25% discount!   You can get the Infoguru Manual; or, the Website Toolkit.  The sale lasts until tonight at 9 EST but don’t waste a minute.  

I especially recommend the ‘Whole Shebang’ Package.  It contains all his best products.  If that seems like a lot (it is packed with great info) then start with the Infoguru Marketing Manual.

Click here to visit the sale page.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!