Why am I doing this?
Well, it’s just the beginning of a musing of a plan, really. For some time it’s occurred to me that in my neck of the woods, mediation is more of a referral business, that to build a successful mediation practice it’s pretty vital that you set to work from the outset identifying and nurturing a solid referral network. In other words, although it’s those in conflict you’re looking to help ultimately, until they’re referred to you they tend not to know you exist, so in order to reach those parties it’s necessary to hook in those to whom the parties usually visit for resolution of their issues.Therefore lawyers, therefore courts, HR management, commercial in-house counsel, complaints personnel, advice or advocacy services, and so on and so on. I talk about how to build a referral network like this in my upcoming book, My Journey In Mediation.But is that enough?
What if there’s another way?
What if we could reach parties in conflict more directly, more intimately (steady on Docherty!…), in a way that fits more naturally into their daily approach to life? Maybe those in conflict don’t share our enthusiasm for mediation, but I’m fairly sure most of them wouldn’t mind their issues sorted out quickly, efficiently, and at minimal cost, rather than being sucked into the civil justice system where self-determination is a dirty phrase.
Jim Melamed, who co-founded Mediate.com, as far back as 2009 predicted ‘mediation in your pocket’, where mediators of the future may be open to live conflict situations through the use of smartphone technology. Totally wacky, right?
I’d like to start a discussion about how WhatsApp could be used by mediators to reach parties in the midst of conflict. In the first quarter of 2016, it was recorded that there are now over 1 billion WhatsApp users worldwide, spending an average of 28% of the day online with it, opening messages at the rate of 70% and sending 30 billion of them per day.
How do you like them apples?
With group chat, one-to-ones, and broadcasts on WhatsApp providing a whole bucket-load of choice in relation to mediation marketing and connection, I reckon this technology provides us with an opportunity not only to connect mediators with mediators, mediators with referrers, but most importantly to reach those in conflict right now, to connect with them, to help them in real time by beginning the mediation process and resolving it by asynchronous messaging or by moving them into your online mediation room or, hey, even down the road to your real-world office.
As I say, I believe this is just the beginning of a musing of a plan, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. So send me your number and we’ll talk about it more on WhatsApp!