Thanks for the contributions all, what an interesting discussion!
In my experience this is exactly what makes communication - particularly where there is conflict so tricky. The tiny adjustments we can make to our language can really help to shift perspectives or indeed escalate a situation too.
I’ve been to a couple of Stokoe’s workshops over the years and one of the most helpful things for me was to make the shift from describing what mediation is to how it works and what I will do as a mediator.
I also use phrases such as “willing” and “speak”. I heard folk on the course use the question "i’m wondering … " quite a bit and I find this a useful one when you are aiming for that curious approach.
The language we chose to use is really important, but in my experience the magic happens when we use our skills to help our participants/ clients/ customers to speak with each other in a way that shifts a very negative interaction into something positive.
Are there any other key phrases or techniques that people use that they have found helpful?