Imagine sitting in a noisy restaurant, barely able to discern beautiful music filtering through the din. Or imagine a strainer with a large mesh basket filled with stuff blocking it so that only the tiniest bit of liquid is allowed to drain out. That’s what it’s like in some mediations I conduct. A lot of noise – noise that’s important to the persons explaining their interests and what they’d like to see come out of the process. But it’s noise just the same. Accompanying their words are the drama, the pitch of the contending voices, the marshaling of facts and assumptions — all aimed at influencing a favorable outcome.