You’ve done your research. You understand the many benefits of mediation. You’ve decided it is the process for you. You’ve even chosen your mediator. The date of your first mediation has been set. Now what? Here are a handful of tips for a successful mediation. These tips apply to any kind of mediation, by the way.
- Prepare –Put together all documents that are relevant to the mediation and send them to the mediator and the other participants in advance of the mediation. Make a list of the issues that are important to you and give some thought to possible options.
- Play devil’s advocate – Put yourself in the other person’s shoes, and look at the situation from their perspective. Think about what they might want out and what is motivating them.
- Let go of the outcome – Have ideas about possible solutions, but don’t get tied to them. The magic of mediation is the creativity that comes out during the negotiations.
- Be patient, and take it in manageable steps – Mediation is not a race to the finish line. Be patient. Don’t try to solve everything at once. Build on the success of each solution you agree on along the way.
- Listen, listen, listen – Truly, this is probably the key to a successful settlement – the ability to genuinely listen to and hear one another. It keeps everyone focussed on the issues to be resolved, not on the people associated with it.
- Be creative – use blue sky thinking – Be creative, and think outside the box. Do not dismiss any idea off hand. Be open to considering solutions that you had never thought of before.
- Be respectful – Use language that is respectful and considerate, and body language that is open.
- Be forward-focussed – Although it is important to talk about the underlying causes of the conflict, you cannot change the past. What you can do is chart the course for the future.
- Actively participate – This is about your life, your solution, your future. Be an active participant in creating what that is going to look like.