I am so appreciative of Dr. Debra Dupree writing her book Your Emotional Potential: How You Show Up Matters because it absolutely, 100% matters how people engaged in a divorce mediation prepare themselves emotionally, behave when in the mediation by the words they choose, the tone of voice they use, and the facial expressions they present when the other spouse is talking.
We aren’t taught how to communicate when in conflict. Our immediate response is to be defensive in our emotional reactions, offensive in our fighting words, and through the energy we bring to the mediation table. What we really need to do before engaging in a divorce mediation is to learn calming techniques like deep breathing techniques, go through a grieving process from deep hurt to acceptance of the life change in front of us, and treat the mediation in a more objective way. The opposite of this would be using mediation to argue about the past.
Other tips for showing up in a beneficial way:
- Be prepared. Have documentation ready. Have options for settlement considered. Do the necessary homework for the division of the house.
- Practice phrasing ideas so that the words are well thought out and non-offensive.
- Organize the documentation, in a binder, with tabs for easy reference.
- Read a book or two on communication techniques to foster positive communication. Bill Eddy has about 30 books he’s authored on conflict communication. His strategy is easy to use and unbelievably effective.
- Remember, you’re still managing a relationship with the soon-to-be former spouse if there are minor children involved. How both spouses behave in mediation will set the tone for co-parenting.
- Practice mindfulness to help focus on the work at hand as opposed to the issues of the past.
- Any type of physical self-care program will benefit anyone going through divorce. When the body feels good, the mind can follow.
- Focus on self-love. This will help combat fear, which is a huge factor in divorce settlement discussions.
- Keep up your appearance. Looking presentable (I know that’s subjective) by hair being groomed, wearing clothing that gives a polished, organized impression.
- Show up on time. That shows consideration for everyone’s time.
Divorce can be smoother than one thinks if time, preparation, advance grieving, communication skills, and consideration are at the forefront.
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Dr. Debra Dupree Biography
Dr. Debra is a Dispute Resolution Specialist, Conflict | Leadership Coach, and International Trainer and Keynote Speaker. She hosts the podcast ‘Decoding the Conflict Mindset’ to bring ‘thought leaders’ from business and legal worlds to her community worldwide to gain insight when high emotions run high and tough negotiations are at stake. She also founded the virtual mentorship program “The Agile Lawyer-Mediator Interview Series” drawing upon 12 topnotch advocates and mediators.
Dr. Dupree is author of Your Emotional Potential: How You Show Up Matters
Dispute Resolution Specialist: Mediation & Conflict Coach | Podcast Host | International Speaker | Author
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