Home / News & Speeches / Getting focused: Five tips to survive the ICC Mediation Competition

Last week we provided five tips on how to best prepare for the imminent 11th annual International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Commercial Mediation Competition.

This week, we are back with five more tips that will have you focused and ready to successfully mediate your next dispute, no matter what you are up against.

Tip #1: Know when to walk away
While there is a lot of emphasis on preparation, it is equally important to understand when it is time to take a break. Knowing when to transition away from the problems, analysis and stresses will help you to cope with the pressure. Set aside time to talk to your teammates about fun topics other than the Competition. Granting your brain the time it needs to relax will allow you to refocus on the task at hand.

Tip #2: Know when it is time to get some sleep
The same can be said for sleeping. “It is easy not to sleep, but it will not help you or your team in the long run,” said Brandon Schrecengost, a member of the winning 2015 ICC Mediation Competition team. If your mind is tired, chances are you are not going to perform to the best of your abilities. Adequate sleep keeps stress at bay and promotes concentration and memory retention, which can only have positive effects. Use it to your advantage.

Tip #3: Get to know your fellow teammates and your coach
You are participating in the Competition as a team, you should be working as one. Developing a strong relationship as a group builds confidence. “The trust is imperative because no matter how many times you run through the problems, you cannot change being comfortable with each other,” said Mr Schrecongost. Having that connection will be essential, especially when you are tired and tensions are high. As for your coach, “Let him or her be your ally, your moral support and your mentor,” said Ronald Austin , Chair of the Working Group on Competition Rules. Listen to what he or she has to tell you. Coaches have the experience and the know-how to lead you into the direction you need to go.

Tip #4: Figure Out Techniques to Unwind/De-stress
Do not underestimate the power of stress management. Being in a tense environment can cause strain and negativity – all of which can hinder your performance. Finding a way to effectively handle anxiety is vital and different methods work for different people. Develop a practice that encourages you to pay attention to your body and the stress you are carrying, and also releases that stress mindfully,” said Rosemary Howell , coach of the University of New South Wales in Australia and member of the Working Group on the Competition Rules. It may be exercise, focusing on your breathing, meditation, laughing or simply being aware of your worries and thinking of ways to physically let go. Or it may be playing games that allow you to detach or even creating a special playlist to dance off your nervous energy. Whatever your methods are, take the time to use them.

Tip #5: Take full advantage of this experience
Mediation Week is all about forging relationships and building skills that last a lifetime. No matter who you speak to, everyone agrees on one thing: profit from this remarkable experience as much as possible. Stretch your mind and challenge your thinking. Take advantage of this unique and international assembly of professionals and fellow students. It is not every day you will have such an extraordinary group of people within your reach. And finally, try to experience Paris and the beauty that will surround you.

For further information, please contact

  • Sara DEBENEDETTI
  • +33 1 49 53 33 59 or +33 1 49 53 33 59
  • Project Manager, International Centre for ADR