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professional.... As of July 1, 2010, Joe Brummer has taken the job of
Associate Executive Director at Community Mediation, Inc. in New
Haven, CT. All of the same workshops and services are still available
- "Community Mediation, Inc. (CM), established in 1980, is the oldest
community-based mediation program in Connecticut. We provide mediation
and other conflict resolution services in the greater New Haven area
and training throughout Connecticut. Staff and trained volunteers
empower individuals, families, organizations and communities to
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Associate Executive Director of a community mediation center
Topic of Discussion:
Great Negotiators Think With Heads, Not Hearts -
Empathy Can Subvert Human Well-Being - Forbes - by Victoria Pynchonhttp://onforb.es/xO6qx4
Definitions of “Empathy” vs. “Perspective Taking”
The article’s use of the word “empathy” not congruent
with Joe’s understanding of the latest research from people like
Frans De Waal, Author of “Age of Empathy” or
Jeremy Rifkin, Author of the Empathetic Civilisation,
Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz the author’s of “Born
for Love: Why Empathy is Essential and Endangered”
Current working definition is that is it perspective
taking along with the ability to intuit another’s emotional state.
Do we have a competitive nature or are we naturally
What is Empathy vs Sympathy and why do we throw
those words around so easily and so mismatched.
Even in the academic world, the world is used in a
variety of ways.
With Edwin’s work interviewing, reading and study
empathy he has broken it down into 4 parts:
Our ability to be connected to ourselves, self-awareness. sensory
awareness, self knowledge
connected to mirror neurons, our ability to connect with others.
Better self-connected we are
the better we can connect with others.also
called affective or emotional empathy
Perspective Taking or Cognitive Empathy: We are separate entities.
If I was in someone's shoes, how would I be feeling or acting.
As we emotional and cognitively connect, how do we interact with
The blocks to action are removed.
This article seems to take the perspective taking
part and seeing it as separate from the emotional part of empathy.
Not seeing the full definition. Sees us as win all negotiators.
A bit like the myth of social darwinism that claims
humans are competitive in nature socially. Myth started by Hubert
Spencer. It has been embraced because our western culture supports
the idea we are all just out to get our share. When you do the social
research, it seems to say we are concerned about each other’s
welfare as much as our own.
Can see both sides of this. “I gotta win” thinking
isn’t natural. What people really want at the mediation table is
empathy. As Brene Brown mights say, “Connected: to be seen, heard
Something about that drive that we are
hardwired to be seen heard and felt.
When people come to the mediation table and hear what
each other is feeling and experiencing, their song always changes.
Many of these point are being made in the article. The words
empathy and sympathy are thrown around like the same thing when they
Both types of mediation occur. One where it is two
people coming to mutual agreements based on self-interest and others
where it is a collaboration because there has been a deeper
connection made. Empathy is more “I see you” vs. sympathy which is
more like “poor you.” I see you in distress than I get distressed
Empathy is understanding where someone is and what
they are feeling. De Wall and Rosenberg as well, talk about
sympathy being the next step. Now I feel something is response to your distress.
is agreement that sympathy can be destructive to negotiations.
Sympathy can be a block to empathy.
28:02: Empathy and Rights
Pinker thinks we need to expand our circle of rights
not the circle of empathy.
Joe thinks they are not mutually exclusive. You can’t
get one without the other.
Bullying is an example. Every kid should have the right
to an education in a safe school free of bullies. One of the things
we know prevents and stops bullying is teaching empathy. Empathy
leads to the expansion of rights.
Empathy is a strong tool is the fight for marriage
equality. To take those who disagreed with marriage equality and have
them empathize with what it is like to not have the rights. To see and
feel the harm.
31:30: Empathy vs Rules
This debate come up often, even in the Supreme Court
justice controversy. Can’t have empathy in the justice system because
it is a strictly rules based system. The fear is that empathy will
lead to favoritism or emotionalism. For Edwin, we could do without
rules if everyone was highly empathic all the time. Rules are a back
up to empathy.
School systems are making rules to prevent them from
getting sued rather than using the tactics we know work to prevent
We are teaching kids to perform, get great test scores
and not focusing on emotional learning.
Kids get needs and feelings better than adults.
Instead of teaching them how to better understand that, we are moving
them away from understanding it.
More rules we have, the less empathy especially if
rules are being implemented with punishment. Rules become fear based.
Zero Tolerance Rules based on fear not empathy.
We need empathy to make rules a moral compass. What's
the point in having rules if they are not making life better?
Pinker states that we should strive for policies that
render empathy unnecessary and Joe thinks it is the complete opposite.
If we expand empathy, the rules become unnecessary. Re-read Pinker’s
statement and insert sympathy for the word empathy, and suddenly it
makes more sense.
Then, we are saying we aren’t making policies because
we feel sorry for people.
back around to definitions
Sympathy is disconnecting, not being fully present for
Sympathy is a block to empathy
Nobody wants sympathy
No one wants to be told “oh, you poor thing” or worse,
“I feel so bad for you”
People fall into this response because they want to fix
definition of sympathy (Paul Ekman) involves seeing sympathy as a
synchronization of your feelings with the other person.
Perhaps a form of connection and yet as a response not
empathy is about being compassionately with someone
else without getting overwhelmed by our own stuff (feelings). Being
present with who they are.
Time 45:00 Empathy
goes back to Brene Brown’s definition of connection: The energy that
happens between people when they feel seen, heard and valued. From the
book, The Gifts of Imperfection.
Empathy is neutral, neither bad nor good. It just is.
Not about agreement or disagreement, it is about seen, heard, and
valued even “if” we disagree.
Article talks about empathy being a feel-good thing and
it is not. (Joe)
Seen as a positive thing (Edwin). When people feel
heard and empathized with their stress level goes down, release of
Oxytocin. Cortisol goes down just by being heard.
Strong social connections led to happiness.
Empathy is the vehicle that gets us there.
NVC folks often use the term “offering empathy” and
that isn’t exactly accurate. Really, we are using empathy to offer
understanding for better or for worse.
I may not agree with you and I am using empathy to
understand where you are. Not really empathy that makes us feel
It is the understanding and connection. Being seen,
heard and valued.
Lowers cortisol, ups serotonin, ups Oxytocin and
Often in mediation and negotiation the people at the
table don’t agree with each other but may finally [through empathy] be
able to understand each other.
Never says in the article exactly what she means by negotiation. What
type of negotiation.
If you are talking about “get everything you can”
negotiation than sympathy and empathy could get in the way.
If you are talking about negotiation for mutual gain.
Empathy is vital, important.
Again, what the article is really talking about is
Odd to do a study on empathy without a working
definition from the experts on empathy about what it is.
Perspective taking is empathy.
Time 51:00: Comes back to definitions.
Similar conversation happening in the compassion
Even with top scientist, there seems to be disagreement
To build a culture of empathy we need to work out a
What about Joe’s thoughts on Edwin’s definition of
empathy as 4-parts: Doesn’t really love the term self-empathy (even
though Joe admits he uses it too!). What self-empathy really comes
down to is self-connection and mindfulness.
Do we hurt ourselves in our efforts when we don’t use
clear definitions and terms.
Difference between self-connection and self-absorption.
Read Born for Love or Age of Empathy to see we don’t
really have a competitive nature. Has more to do with social learning
than human nature.
We have different capacities for collaboration,
The arguments of punishments and rewards.
People do things when they understand why they are
Time 1:06:08 Last Thoughts!
Teach kids empathy!! Kids have more to teach us than
we have to teach them!
"On August 27th, 2014
IdeaScale hosted guest speaker Joe Brummer from Community Mediation,
Inc. for a workshop addressing one of innovation’s most common
challenges: creating a culture that is conducive to innovation and
innovative ideas. Brummer introduces communication tactics that have
been successfully applied in other IdeaScale innovation programs."
negotiating with our heads rather than our hearts.
Definitions of “Empathy” vs. “Perspective Taking”
Why Enlightened Self-Interest Trumps Sympathy
Because our competitive natures (“I need my stuff to
survive”) will almost always trump our collaborative inclinations
(“we need each other to survive”)
empathy is a sucker. “Its head is turned by cuteness,
good looks, kinship, friendship, similarity and communal solidarity.
an expanded circle of rights
The ultimate goal should be policies and norms that
become second nature and render empathy unnecessary. Empathy, like
love, is in fact not all you need.
As a former litigator and trial attorney turned
mediator, peace seeker and negotiation trainer and consultant, I
live on the razor’s edge between sympathy and fairness, between
adversarialism and collaboration, between my head and my heart.
Only when we’re able to achieve the balance between
head and heart are we able to serve ourselves and the larger good at
the same time.
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