was sitting watching the X-Files earlier and it took me back to a time when I didn't know my ADR from my elbow. 

 

Hull in the 90s. The Beautiful South. The Fine Young Cannibals. Hull Fair. The Piper Club. Sultan's Kebabs. Billy Whitehurst. LA's and The Tower.

 

Great times.

 

During my uni years I was a steward at Hull City. After uni I worked on Social Fund at the Benefits Agency - both character forming jobs in their own way.

 

While Mulder & Scully were trying to find aliens, I was preparing for a life in ADR I didn't even know existed. On the terraces and on the social fund I learned how to diffuse difficult situations, engage in active listening, communicate in a foreign language (Lancastrian Scouse v East Yorkshire*) and manage stressful and distressing situations.

 

I learned empathy, tenacity and, equally in both jobs, how to separate people from the problem. I also learned how to spot a fraud and, really importantly, to accept that first opinions aren't always right - you can be wrong about someone and it is alright to change your mind. 

 

Little did I know all those years ago that I would use those skills in every day life and especially at mediation. Whilst CEDR and CIArb training may have formalised these skills I think the real training took place on the away end at Boothferry Park and behind a bullet proof window on Ferensway.

 

*I remember one lady explaining to me in her broad Hull accent that she needed money for her burns. In the subtlest way possible I scanned her visible flesh, of which there was plenty, looking for said burns. I felt I had to recommend she didn't receive the payment because she was clearly lying, she had no burns at all! It was only when a local explained to me that she wasn't talking about burns, she was referring to her 'bairns' AKA her children, that I realised that the language gap had foiled me once again...

Founder of Gregory Hunt Mediation providing Ombudsman Services and Commercial Mediation.