Mediation Tips

Mediation is a process of collaborative problem solving in a controlled setting facilitated by a neutral third party.  What is effective in mediation often differs from what is effective in a courtroom. The following tips may be helpful to you in preparing for a successful mediation:  

  • Be prepared to listen to understand, not to find fault.  Whether you agree with the conclusions or the details of what is said, always assume there may be information valuable to achieving resolution in what others say.

  • Speak to be understood.  Consider, in advance, how you might address difficult issues in constructive ways. Avoid use of negative, value laden statements and name calling. To achieve your goals through agreement, others must be willing and able to hear you.

  • Be prepared to go beyond positions (I’m not going!) and discuss interests (I don’t feel safe in that old truck). When you are able to move away from positions and begin to talk about the underlying interests, the potential for agreement is hugely expanded (What if I borrow Ted’s new Volvo?).

  • Consider options that satisfy interests on both sides.  There is no agreement until all parties agree; and no one will agree unless their needs are satisfied to an acceptable level. If reaching agreement is your goal, it is beneficial to consider solutions that address needs and interests on both sides of an issue.

  • Don’t get stuck on a single option. There are always several creative ways to address an issue—don’t limit yourself to just one.

  • Be prepared to work hard during the mediation. Achieving success in mediation requires best efforts from everybody.  

  • Be patient.  Collaborative problem solving takes a little time; however, the agreements reached are often the most durable and satisfying.

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