Exploring the Language of Mediation

This research paper from Andrew Rixon, Viv McWaters and Sascha Rixon focuses on the question of “Is there is such a thing as ‘speaking facilitatively’?” Thinking in terms of ecologies of language use, it asks whether there may be a particular style of communication, and language, inherent within the practice of facilitation. Its findings"indicate that facilitators do have an implicit understanding of what it means to ‘speak facilitatively’. Furthermore, this style of speech appears to be based on respect for the group and encompasses linguistic politeness devices..."

The paper includes the following examples of facilitative language:

Setting of ground rules
“Our purpose today…”
“What is the purpose of our meeting?”
“What would be the ideal outcome?”
“Where do you want to have got to when we go out that door?”
“Relax and enjoy the journey”
“Everyone’s opinion is valued, there are no wrong answers”
“All ideas are valued”
“It’s an honour to work with you”

Acknowledging participants’ contributions
“That’s an excellent thought. You are very (sincere praise).”
“That interests me, say more”
“Thank you for sharing”
“Great- good- I like it- excellent- Spot on”

“Say more…”
“Can you say more about…”
“Could you say more?”
“Tell me more about that…”
“Can you tell me more about that?”
“Please, tell me more about that.”
“Yes, please go on.”
“Say more about that if you will…”
“Please tell me more about what you mean when you stated…”
“Tell us a little more about this.”

Garnering participation
“I’m wondering how this might look/appear/feel/seem to you?”
“I invite you to…”
“I’d like to invite you to participate in…”
“Tell me about a time when…”
“I’m curious to know what others think”
“What do others think?”
“Does anyone else have [something]?”

Reflecting and clarifying
“What I have heard is…”
”Am I correct in observing that…”
“So what you’re saying is…”
“What I’m hearing is…Is that right?”
“Please clarify”
“What I hear you saying…”
“Can you help me be more clear in my mind about…”

Good stuff.

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