On Wednesday 15 July 2020, SMP conducted its first Mediation Masterclass.
About 30 participants (SMP members and non-members) took part in the Mediation Masterclass that was conducted online and facilitated by Lim Lei Theng, one of the pioneers of the Singapore mediation movement. Participants observed a role-play in which an experienced mediator, Ramesh Selvaraj, mediated a commercial dispute between Carolyn Street-Johns and Wee Shun Fam.
During the 2.5 hour mock mediation, Lei Theng facilitated a concurrent analysis (via Chat messaging) of the mediator’s performance, raising many thought-provoking questions for a rich discussion on mediator dos and don’ts. The role-play was followed by a half-hour Q & A session.
What was unique about the Masterclass was the use of disputants with no background in mediation. This added a measure of realism usually absent from conventional training role-plays. As the role-play was unscripted, this enhanced the authenticity of the role-playing.
Some of the issues raised for discussion included:
• mediator impartiality;
• body language and attending thereto;
• differences between virtual and face-to-face mediation;
• attending to parties’ emotions;
• facilitative versus a more directive approach;
• mediator solutions; and
• use of private sessions.
SMP is grateful to Lei Theng who not only provided very useful insights but also managed to create an environment which encouraged continuous and enthusiastic discussion. Kudos, too, goes to Ramesh who gamely exposed his mediation skills to scrutiny and the realistic role-playing by Carolyn and Wee Shun.
Based on the level of interaction in the fast and furious chat discussion and the post-role-play dialogue alone, the Mediation Masterclass was a resounding success. SMP will continue to organise such learning opportunities for mediators and in so doing, raise the level of mediation practice in Singapore.