Monday, June 15, 2015

Social media advice for mediators, coaches and facilitators: Why give a tweet?

Social media advice for mediators, coaches and facilitators: Why give a tweet?


The importance of twitter

Did you know that some peoples’ relationships are completely initiated and developed on twitter? As a mediator, conflict coach or facilitator, this is significant. If you want to reach new markets and develop and retain existing clients, you should consider whether your social media strategy includes twitter. If you do not have a twitter presence, what does this mean for potential clients using this platform who are in need? Will they be able to reach you if they require divorce mediation services? Will you be available to receive their messages if they prefer tweets to traditional email messages?

This blog is meant to discuss the use of twitter for conflict resolution experts as a compliment to our Best Business Ideas: Social Media Networking for Mediators.

Tweeting terms:


A tweet is “a posting made on the social media website Twitter” and “a very short message posted on the Twitter website: the message may include text, keywords, mentions of specific users, links to websites, and links to images or videos on a website” (


Also known as an RT, a retweet is a “repost or forward (a message posted by another user).” Below, you may see the message by Mary Anne @mediator2family which has been retweeted (which is indented in a smaller box below the message by @Mediate2Go).

Twitter Handle:

A twitter handle is a personal identifier on the twitter site, which also acts as a username. You can ‘mention’ someone in a tweet by using their handle (i.e. @mediate2go), so they are notified of your mention. The tweet will also show up in their live feed. Below, you will see the twitter handle of mediate2go. Also note that the twitter handle becomes one’s twitter page address:


A hashtag “is a type of label or metadata tag used on social network and microblogging services which makes it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content” (Wikipedia). Below, you can see the term #freshstart, which was a popular theme at the time, so anyone searching on twitter for #freshstart may see this tweet in association with the term #freshstart.

Twitter feed:
A twitter feed is ”An ongoing stream of Twitter messages (tweets)” (PC Mag). When you log into twitter, you will see this stream of messages appear. They are tweets from people you follow, and others that might have other shared interests, or advertisements. Below, you will see different types of twitter feeds that you can select, including top tweets, video tweets and more.

Twitter is different from other social media sites

Twitter is a medium to have live conversation with others. Keep in mind thata  tweet’s lifetime is 18-20 minutes, unlike more static posts on facebook. A tweet can still be seen on your twitter page, but it only remains ‘active’ and on the twitter feed 20 minutes or so.

The twitter equation

Ideally, you should be posting one thematic tweet, 4 or 5 times a day. The structure of the tweet should be the 1) Headline, the link 2) Link and 3) 3 Hashtags (#). Although it might be challenging to find sufficient amounts of compelling and appropriate content for your twitter account, the number of posts can significantly increase your reach.

Content in your post

Avoid common mistakes in developing and sharing your twitter content.

Avoid the following
  • Too much direct promotion: (ie. buy this service). Some say this type of content should only be posted in 1 tweet out of every 10 tweets.
  • Mixing your personal and brand identity: Set up separate twitter accounts, and distance your personal from your professional identity, or risk alienating your followers and looking unprofessional. Still be personable, so people can identify with your brand/company.
  • Letting the trend guide you: Use trends to inspire you in your twitter content and headline, but only if you can connect it seamlessly with your message
  • Tweeting without a schedule or plan: You should set up a yearly schedule of dates to keep in mind to share content so that you don’t miss important events that provide rich content (i.e. international conflict resolution day).

Mediators, coaches and facilitators, try the following when you tweet:

  • See what’s trending: Check what is trending during the day, and use the #’s you see. Also, keep track of useful “Retweet Bait” like #FF – #FollowFriday, #FridayFeeling, or #TBT – Throw back Thursday. These can be used in your twitter equation to maximize the spread of your message. 
  • Post blog materials: If you are looking for inspiration, tweet a blog link, shorten it with or within your Google account. Feel free to go back and promote previously posted blogs to new audiences. 
  • Thank new followers: with a unique message or question to add further content to your twitter feed, and show potential followers that you would be an ideal twitter friend in the future. 
  • Use photos or graphics: Share photos twitter, but remember they are only live for 20 minutes, so don’t take too much time or spend too many resources in developing these.

Followers – who to follow and who to avoid

You can follow people to have their content appear in your twitter feed. It’s also a way to get them interested your business. When you follow them, they will get a notification stating as much. Watch out, some people might follow you, and then once you have followed them back, they will unfollow you. This is a sneaky way for them to build their list of followers. This means that that you might be following someone who isn’t interested in your tweets.

Here are some things to avoid when it comes to followers.

  • Following the wrong people: People who are not your target clients should not be followed, unless you have some other type of strategic business reason for doing so.
  • Paying for followers: If you have a social media budget, use this to hire someone to do regular posts.

Here are some things to try when it comes to followers:

  • Keep it local: Connect with local community members, businesses and community groups on twitter, so that they see your name out there. Engage with them on local issues so you that look like an available expert.

View twitter as a tool to build relationships like you would in person.

Here are some principles to keep in mind when you tweet:

  • Build Relationships: Even if twitter is the only platform for some of these new relationships, try to consider them as important as in-person professional relationships. You might meet these practitioners in person one day
  • Consistent identity: Choose three characteristics that your ideal clients look for in a mediator, coach or facilitator, then brainstorm ways that you can tweet to emphasize or demonstrate this aspect of your brand identity (i.e. if you deal with condo disputes, then post about condo-related regulations, court decisions related to condo disputes, news stories on condos and condo associations to show that you are active in the community and that you are an expert).
  • Use a mediation-based tweeting philosophy: build trust with more communication, and develop collaborative and friendly relationships with others as you would in the ‘real’ world.
  • Help other people connect: Do your best to be a ‘connector’. Reply to other people’s tweets and mention interested third parties as they might return the favour one day.
  • Quality Circle/community of practice: Use twitter as a quality circle or community of practice to discuss issues you face in difficult mediation, coaching and facilitation cases to get feedback and ideas.

Conclusion – Social media advice for mediators, coaches and facilitators: Why give a tweet?

Twitter can be intimidating, especially if you are unfamiliar with how it works. You might not even see the value in developing a twitter-based identity. Hopefully, we provided you with some thought provoking and inspiring reasons to try twitter, and practical tools to build and maintain a successful mediation services, coaching services and facilitation practice with social media. If you don’t have enough time to develop content, hire a student who wants to become a mediator, coach or facilitator. Lots of people are looking for mediation jobs, so ask for help today.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Build an Internal Conflict Resolution System - Workplace Conflict

Build an Internal Conflict Resolution System - Workplace Conflict

The principles to create an effective conflict resolution system for your business or organization., Build an effective conflict resolution strategy for your business or organization!

Benefits of Conflict Resolution at Work

Here are some other benefits of conflict resolution, if conflict is effectively addressed in organizations. Also, see our blog about how conflict is good for business.
Also, be sure to see our blog on how conflict can be used to decrease business risk and promote growth within an organization

How to develop a conflict resolution system

So, what can you do to transform conflict into a good thing in your company or organization? Set up an internal conflict resolution system for your organization or business. Here are some tasks and/or principles to keep in mind when developing a system., Build an effective conflict resolution system for your business or organization!

Top 10 tips to build a conflict resolution system

  1. Customization. Customize the system based on organizational and ‘people’ needs.
  2. Self-responsibility. Everyone must take responsibility for their own behaviour and needs. If you have a problem, address it, do not avoid it, unless you believe you can let it go or it will help you resolve the issue in the long run. If something was said that bothered you, find out how to address it effectively. Read about having a constructive confrontation (or discussion) and how to take self-leadership and self-responsibility in conflict resolution.
  3. Leadership Support. Management, HR, and Unions must encourage and support conflict resolution training and encouragement managers and employees to manage conflict in a mutually respectful way. This includes the provision of resources, human, special and financial, in order to ensure that conflict resolution is easy to access for all within the organization. Without leadership support, conflict is likely to escalate and become destructive and hard to fix (how to fix a relationship)
  4. Build Team Cohesion and Trust. Ensure that you encourage all employees and managers to build personal relationships, and integrate this into a weekly agenda of activities. When things do become challenging, individuals will be more likely to have enough Trust to manage these challenges effectively. Trust will also be essential when planning, designing and delivering a program. See our blog on the Definition of Trust and Building Trust.
  5. Participation: Ask for the participation of all stakeholders prior to the development of a plan for the organization.
  6. Problem Solving. Encourage interdisciplinary and interdepartmental problem solving (levels of conflict). If employees and managers are given the opportunity to share concerns and brainstorm on how to resolve conflicts, the organization is more likely to gather critical data to prevent issues from hurting the organization overall. See our blog on the levels of conflict within an organization.
  7. Listening and Feedback Training. Encourage active listening and how to give and receive feedback. If employees and managers are able to effectively listen to one another, they will be empowered to self-resolve many of their issues, often without the help of management and HR. This means more time spent on critical issues. Never underestimate the power of active listening.
  8. Meta-communication. Make it part of your weekly routine to talk about how you communicate, how to improve interpersonal relationships, and how to address potential conflict situations (Top 10 Tips on How to Resolve Conflict).
  9. Self-resolve Conflicts. In addition to training on interpersonal communication, employees and managers must be given the skills to deal with conflict before it becomes an issue. It might entail other types of training or services, such as those related to stress reduction, whereby these might improve one’s ability to better address personal issues that might lead to conflict. It might also encourage activities such as meditation and yoga in the workplace, to help people feel centered and capable of addressing issues in a healthy way. This is also covered in our blog on self-responsibility, managing anger and our self-resolution tool.
  10. Change Agent. Find a mediator, conflict coach and project manager to design, build and implement your conflict resolution system. Be sure to find a mediator with years of experience in workplace conflict resolution to assist in this process. We’ve discussed some of the essential tasks and principles to keep in mind when setting up an internal conflict resolution system. However, they will be able to do a needs assessment to determine the needs of the organization, and recommend how these may be achieved. 

In summary, conflict can be used as a positive force of change in your company or organization if it is addressed effectively. Leave your recommendations and questions on the blog in the comments section below. Also, try using our web app to set up your own system. 

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