Becoming the Calm in the Midst of the Storm

Current Events Conflict Chat with….Pattie Porter and Stephen Kotev – Listen in on 9/27 at 8 pm Eastern

Current Events Conflict Chat with….Pattie Porter and Stephen Kotev – Listen in on 9/27 at 8 pm Eastern

Got Conflict? If you have a conflict with someone and are not sure how to handle it, then let us know. Here is your opportunity to ask your question with Conflict Management experts who are mediators, conflict coaches and facilitators on how to think about, analyze or resolve your situation.

Think about it. Are you currently engaged in an active conflict with your co-workers or boss? Ignoring your neighbor because of a conversation you don’t want to have? In a disagreement with your spouse? Or simply afraid to bring up a concern with a friend in fear of stirring up problems.

Join us live. Here is how:

  • Call 347-324-3591; press 1 and wait for a Host
  • Use the Reply box below to post your question or conflict situation
  • Join us in the chat room live at Blog Talk Radio on the night of the program. Post your comment or question here and we will bring it into the program.
  • Join our Live Twitter chat using #ConflictChat every Tuesday night at 5 pm Pacific/7pm Central/8 pm Eastern

Verbal Aikido – Manage Verbal Attacks Peacefully and Effectively – 8/23 at 8 pm Eastern

Verbal Aikido – Manage Verbal Attacks Peacefully and Effectively – 8/23 at 8 pm Eastern

Verbal Aikido is a means of communication that enables the practitioner to transform verbal attacks, both effectively and peacefully. This philosophy comes from the Japanese martial art of Aikido that seeks to transform ‘attackers’ into training partners. It’s a fun and easy-to-learn approach that can be learnt from ages as young as 5 years old. Regular practice of Verbal Aikido considerably increases self-esteem, altruism and the confidence to manage conflict in a self-affirming and harmonious manner. Listen in on Tuesday, August 23rd at 8 pm Eastern to learn more.

As an Aikido black belt and a life-long student of conflict resolution, I really am looking forward to this program!

4/26 Conflict Chat with….Pattie Porter, Stephen Kotev and Abigail R. C. McManus is now available for download and streaming

4/26 Conflict Chat with….Pattie Porter, Stephen Kotev and Abigail R. C. McManus is now available for download and streaming

In this week’s conflict chat we discussed the tragic death of New Orleans Saints star defensive end Will Smith and what happens to you when someone becomes emotionally hijacked. Listen in to learn how to better control these responses and better avoid classic mistakes when dealing with emotional and upset people.

 

Is Your ADR Safe? Reducing the Risk of Violence Before, During and After Sessions

Is Your ADR Safe? Reducing the Risk of Violence Before, During and After Sessions

Later on this week I will be presenting at the 18th annual American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution spring conference in New York, New York. My colleague, Susan Yates of the Resolution Systems Institute, and I will be presenting our work on safety and safety planning to advocates, lawyers, arbitrators, mediators and other conference attendees.

We look forward as well to seeing old friends and colleagues, making new ones and advancing our field. This conference is an excellent opportunity to stay abreast of current developments, best practices, and innovations central to the ADR field. I am honored to be presenting to such an experience and esteemed audience. Please do stop by and say hello if you are in town.

All the best,

Stephen

Somatic Skills for Conflict Resolvers Offered at the University of Waterloo

Somatic Skills for Conflict Resolvers Offered at the University of Waterloo

This week I will have the great pleasure of teaching somatic skills to conflict resolvers from the University of Waterloo and Conrad Grebel University College. This workshop is being offered in conjunction with Grebel’s Certificate in Conflict Management with participants from across the public, private and educational sectors.

As a graduate of Conrad Grebel and the University of Waterloo, I feel honored to have this opportunity. Especially since, I will also have the pleasure of speaking at Conrad Grebel’s community supper. The topic of my talk will be on embodied peace and how to utilize somatics to become the ‘calm in the midst of the storm.’ It is a wonderful feeling to contribute to the long standing commitment to peace that these two institutions embrace.

ABA – Section of Dispute Resolution: FREE WEBINAR | Tuesday, April 28th | Register TODAY! Is Your ADR Safe? Reducing the Risk of Violence Before, During and After Sessions

ABA – Section of Dispute Resolution: FREE WEBINAR | Tuesday, April 28th | Register TODAY! Is Your ADR Safe? Reducing the Risk of Violence Before, During and After Sessions

The ABA Dispute Resolution Section, Mediation Committee is pleased to announce our second monthly teleconference of 2015. Please join us on Tuesday, April 28th at 12pm.

Many ADR professionals saw the headlines when an angry mediation participant shot two other participants (an attorney and client) at a Phoenix law firm in 2013. That tragedy is probably the most extreme recent example of violence in connection with an ADR process, but unfortunately it is not unique. In response to this concern, the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) established a task force to study and make recommendations on how best to promote the safety of ADR practitioners and participants. In a 45-minute webinar, task force chair Stephen Kotev will discuss the key safety advice that is covered in the 16 pages of written recommendations.

Virginia Mediation Network Keynote Address – Mediator Safety 101

Virginia Mediation Network Keynote Address – Mediator Safety 101

This Saturday, I will have the honor and privilege of delivering the keynote address to the 2014 Annual Spring Training Conference of the Virginia Mediation Network. The Virginia Mediation Network is the state’s largest mediation membership association. Its mission is to promote public understanding of conflict resolution services and provide its members with interdisciplinary knowledge and skills and a community to enhance their professional success.

The topic of this address will be: Mediator Safety 101: What Every Mediator Needs to Know to Stay Safe in Our Dangerous Times

Fueled by my work as the Chair of the Association for Conflict Resolution Taskforce on Safety in ADR, this keynote will highlight key safety planning and risk reduction strategies. Mediators are routinely asked to enter into conversations and circumstances most would choose to avoid. These conversations can contain some of the strongest emotional triggers, and create the most stressful situations, that we may ever experience.

I hope you will join me this Saturday to learn how to prepare, what to ask, and what to do to care for yourself and your clients in the most dangerous of circumstances.

A Look Into Our Emotions

A Look Into Our Emotions

Finnish researchers have uncovered a very interesting correlation between our bodily sensations and emotional responses. In a study recently published in Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, 733 participants from Taiwan, Finland and Sweden took part in five experiments to indicate how certain emotionally charged words, stories, movies or facial expressions made them feel within their body.  Each participant was asked to highlight where within their body they felt a reaction. Bodily regions were colored within blank silhouettes to indicate the level of activity in response to each stimulus.

This study by Aalto University researchers has created a wonderful graphical representation of what happens in our body in response to emotional imagery, showing how happiness and depression manifest within our physiology. You can see when you literally ‘light up with joy’ at the sight of a loved one or completely collapse under the weight of depression.

Body Mapping

I often ask my students or clients to describe what stress feels like in their body. “Anxious,” “hopeless,” and “fearful” are common responses. Unfortunately, these are emotional terms that do not really tell us much about what is happening in our body.  So, I have to ask them to describe what anxiety/hopelessness/fear feels like in their body. Usually, there is a moment of silence and an awkward pause as they scratch their head and search for an answer.

For a variety of reasons, we here in the West are deeply disconnected from our bodies. We struggle to articulate what happens to our physiology when we are deeply happy or profoundly sad. We don’t know what happens to our heart rate or breathing when we are angry. We don’t know where we hold tension in our bodies or if we clench our jaw during difficult conversations. We may have a brief glimpse of our response, but we really do not give it much thought.

The majority of my work as a somatic educator is to help build self-awareness within my clients and students. Without awareness, it is impossible to change behavior or develop skill. You can read every book ever written and take every training on the market, but you will still be hopelessly lost if you do not understand who you are and what you can and cannot do.

Once you are better able to perceive what is happening within your body, you will become more emotionally intelligent. If you can identify how changes in your body directly relate to changes in emotion, you can begin to make different choices. Instead of impulsively reacting, you can use this self-awareness to make a different choice. Every time your eyes narrow and your fists clench, you’ll know an angry outburst is about to follow. But you will now have the opportunity to choose differently.

This opportunity for choice is central to high-performing teams, outstanding leadership and quality conflict resolution. So the next time you start to lose your temper, take a look at these images and see if you can start to choose differently.

Seven Years With George Mason University

Seven Years With George Mason University

Today marks the 7th year that I have taught for the Masters program of the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. I am honored and excited to part of a dynamic, experienced, and pioneering program. It is also incredibly gratifying to be part of the development of future conflict resolution practitioners and scholars enrolled in this program.

My work with somatic skills has always been driven by a desire to improve the field of conflict resolution and myself. I passionately believe that this work is central to our future progression and relevance. Lt. Col. Dave Grossman captures my feelings precisely when he trains Law Enforcement Officers and military personnel on how our breathing can be used to control our fear and anger: “The degree to which we control our fear and anger is the degree to which we have mastered ourselves as human beings.”

I say something similar to this every time I train in somatics, “if you cannot control yourself – how can you help anyone else?” Until we can master ourselves, we will continue to fail those we wish to benefit the most. These courses in somatic skills give me solace that I may be empowering a future generation of conflict resolvers on a path toward self-mastery and excellence.  Thank you to this year’s cohort who will be in class today and thank you to George Mason University for this wonderful opportunity.

See you in class!

StephenKotev.com selected as a Must-Bookmark Site for Business Managers by MastersinManagement.org

StephenKotev.com selected as a Must-Bookmark Site for Business Managers by MastersinManagement.org

I have just been notified that MastersinManagement.org has selected my website as one of the 101 Must-Bookmark Sites for Business Managers. To quote Jane Bryant of MastersinManagement.org: ” This list is meant not only for beginning managers or those in school for business, but also for those with experience who are looking to refresh their skills and get new perspective on current management practices. Your site has great info both for new managers and veterans.”

Thank you to MastersinManagement.org for adding my blog to their must-bookmark list!

I also completely agree with their outlook on business conflict resolution, which they describe as being “a huge part of business. Negotiations between companies and within companies often need a third party to step-in and make sure that things stay civil and everyone’s needs are met while keeping the company on track.”

Without these essential conflict management skills, managers become ineffective and the organization soon grounds to a halt. Becoming an effective problem solver is one of the most important skills any employee or leader can develop. Kudos to MastersinManagement.org for providing this resource to new and veteran business managers.