> Communication – The Art of Interacting
> Mediation – When Being Together Causes Pain
> Moderation – Coordinating Diversity
> Mentoring – Mastering the Transition
> Aleksandra Weber MD, PhD - Guided by Curiosity
Communication is the essence of our being, the central feature of our culture. Even if we share the same space for working and living, the same reality, we have different perceptions and interpretations of our surroundings. People from different cultures, with different backgrounds, upbringing and education have different mindsets and individual patterns that influence their lives and therefore the kind of relationships they live in, both privately and professionally.
It is impossible not to communicate. Even if we do not speak, we do transfer messages through our mimicry and gestures, through the way we are present in the space around us, the way we approach others and listen to them. Even our body is a finely-tuned communication system.
Everything we experience and learn is a result of interaction with our surroundings. Coping with others sometimes sets in motion a spiral of misunderstandings that ends by trapping us in a labyrinth of conflicts. That might hurt. A dispute comprises three elements: a substantial topic, an underlying relationship and mutual impediment.
Recent findings in behavioural science show that the impact of stressful relationships and conflicts on our mood and temper, our health, well-being and quality of life in general can be five times stronger than that of positive experiences and interactions.
How to find the way out?
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When it comes to solving disputes, managing conflicts and even preventing them, there is an option available to us that is quicker, more effective and less expensive than taking a lawyer and going to the court.
Mediation is a productive process of alternative dispute resolution aiming to assist two or more parties in reaching an agreement with a win-win outcome. It is about solving problems effectively and harmonizing relationships sustainably, thus sparing your most valuable resources.
The Harvard concept of alternative dispute resolution, known as the Harvard Negotiation Programme and initiated in the early 1970s, was developed by an interdisciplinary group of lawyers, psychologists, anthropologists, economists and other professionals interested in sustainable communication and future-oriented negotiation. The activity of mediation itself dates back to ancient times.
By identifying individual and, subsequently, mutual interests and by developing options, parties can themselves determine the final manageable agreement: the key component of mediation. Although structured, it is a flexible and an informal process, a strictly confidential one. Mediation always takes place behind closed doors, allowing those involved to communicate openly and even express their emotions safely. It is a voluntarily act managed by a third party and based on empowerment and recognition, a collaborative and person-centred process about fair play. Mediation also offers the parties involved an opportunity to actively renew and even heal their strained relationship, regardless of their points of view. By coming up with a mutual win-win outcome, positive changes for the future are initiated, even in terms of dispute prevention.
Mediation uses natural resources. The success of the process depends on the active participation, joint efforts and willingness of all parties to communicate constructively, openly and effectively. It is based on trust, individual autonomy, self-responsibility and the readiness of each single participant in the process to reach a self-determinated settlement.
A mediator uses appropriate techniques and individual skills to facilitate a dialogue, foster effective communication, interaction and integration. He acts as a catalyst for transformation, helping the creative problem-solving process, even as a dispute preventer. A mediator manages the process through his good speaking and listening skills, by asking questions, and also by picking up on non-verbal messages and other signals emanating from the context of mediation. The spectrum of his skills encompasses empathy, trust, optimism, a sense of humour and flexibility. A mediator is impartial and puts things into perspective, keeping sight of the wider picture while retaining an overview of the details. Although he is not responsible for the final outcome, his professional background and life experience, as well as his personal style do influence the nature of the service provided.
Mediation is applied in a variety of disputes involving individuals or groups within a private or professional domain – at work or in a commercial, legal or diplomatic setting, during a divorce or other family matter, in local, national, international and even intercultural conflicts.
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The world around us is based on diversity, in real and virtual terms. People with different cultural backgrounds, individual skills, interests and experiences live and work together; they interact, impacting on those around them and thus creating their surroundings according to their social, cultural, political and economic backgrounds.
Moderation is a technique, a process of coordinating and harmonizing the diversity within a certain setting. Different mindsets and disciplines, even cultures, engage in discourse in a defined context. A moderator conducts an orchestra, with the group providing the music itself. He stimulates the dynamics of the group and the active participation of each member by facilitating dialogue and active communication in an exchange of ideas, visions and intentions. In directing this dramatic composition, a moderator performs a balancing act.
Moderation is an established and flexible process suitable for managing meetings, conferences, podium discussions or talk shows, even as a collaborative process for managing and preventing disputes.
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It’s never too late to take the crucial step towards helping your individual vision to come true.
Change is the only permanence in life. The challenge lies in managing any transition and mastering life to the next higher step.
You need support?
Whether it is about leadership, essential career decisions, about developing your full potential, or issues concerning your private life, your relationships, or any combination of those topics — a crucial step forward, guided by a mentor of your choice, can be initiated by a process of reflection and introspection, while taking into account your personal needs.
Mentoring can be formal or informal. It is a dynamic one-on-one relationship, a dialogue with a trusted person whose knowledge, experience and skills support your individual interests and needs, and who acts as a catalyst in the process of reaching your individual goal.
A mentor is like a beacon and a compass, spreading light and keeping you on course, while showing you the route and supporting the crucial steps you make. The key factors in all this are that you trust your mentor, enjoy his full support and feel that you are understood, so that on your way to your individual success you have a reliable guideline that is both interactive and integrative.
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Aleksandra Weber, MD PhD
I’m a medical doctor trained in cardiology, guided by curiosity, experienced in business internationally as a manager, consultant, financial analyst, PR professional and entrepreneur covering the entire health care value chain, European by nationality, at home throughout the world.
Life is a patchwork, a creative process and a playful unity of diversity – both personally and professionally. As a mediator and mentor with strong analytical skills I encourage people to solve their disputes with a win-win outcome — in order to create supportive, sustainable relationships in their private and professional settings by balancing differing mindsets and value scales, different cultural backgrounds, interests and needs. I actively support transformation and facilitate paradigm shifts in all aspects of life in an interactive, integrative and innovative way by catalyzing an open-minded, interdisciplinary and international dialogue, cooperation, understanding, as well as a respectful communication of diversities.
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A mind once stretched
by a new idea
can never return to
its old dimension.