Mediation Dos and Don’ts
Going into a mediation can be stressful. That stress is amplified if you are unrepresented. This infographic provides a mediation cheat sheet full of mediation dos and don’ts. If you follow this advice you have a much better chance of getting to a deal.
Mediation Dos and Don’ts: Do
Stay at it
Both sides came to find a deal. Mediation takes work from all sides to get a deal. Listen to the other side and be honest in your replies. Just don’t walk away. If you need a break or need to regroup and come back another day then speak with your mediator. The important thing is to remain committed to the process.
Try to understand what the other party is saying and what they need out of the mediation. Positions taken often reflect underlying interests. If you listen carefully you may hear where a settlement can be reached.
Talk about what you need out of a deal. If the other party is listening, they may hear how they can satisfy your interests and theirs.
Draw on the mediator’s experience. If you are having trouble making your point, caucus with the mediator and ask how you can be more clear. If you don’t want the information you share in private with the mediator to be shared make sure there is a clear understanding between you and the mediator.
When you are negotiating and when you are mediating are the low point for risk. The next step may not be yours and you may lose control. You need to consider what happens if a settlement can’t be reached. Are you going to court? Is the situation going to persist? This is your biggest chance to help author the solution.
Mediation Dos and Don’ts: Don’t
Mediation needs honesty to work. If you are there to get a deal, your best chance is to be truthful. Attempting to trick the other side will only work against you. That doesn’t mean strategy doesn’t come into play, but the parties need to have genuine discussions about what is important and not. Lying about somethings importance may mean you get an offer for something you didn’t want in the first place.
Mediation is there to resolve disputes. If the people in the room don’t have some authority to make decisions, then discussions will fail. Make sure whoever is in the mediation can make the decision or they have a direct line to the decision maker. Some people have a limit on their authority; that is normal. Even parties with very little authority can help narrow the scope of the dispute.
Pointing fingers rarely advances the discussion. Review of facts and feelings is a normal part of mediation. However, you don’t want the review to become a blame session. Take a future focus in talks: where do you want to be? How can settlement correct the situation.
Use Your Phone
Personal calls and business calls not relating to the matter at hand signal to everyone that you are not engaged in the process. Mediation, at its core, is facilitated communication. If you aren’t showing dedication to communicating with the other party, then you are communicating that they and their values are not important.
Emotions are part of the human experience. Disputes are about how people experience them not just the substantive matter at hand. In emotionally charged conflicts you will rarely be able to have a conversation about the bare issue before you make some attempt to acknowledge and validate the emotions involved.
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