The Virtue of Vulnerability

On September 29, 2016, I sat riveted as Judge Michael Aloi of West Virginia encouraged mediators to become more vulnerable. The message, the messenger, and the audience’s response were stunning. The message was surprising because mediators are usually encouraged to be neutral. Judge Aloi reminded us that most of our clients are experiencing deep pain. Our visible empathy and deep listening can help them feel safer—show them they’ve been heard. Judge Aloi said our vulnerability shows we connect with them. It telegraphs, “You are important to me. You matter.”

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