Treat each other with respect

Consent is essential to any deal that is made in mediation. A party who has been insulted is not usually inclined to agree to anything.  They will put their back up.  Nobody likes being disrespected.  Most mediators will temporary stop mediation if any party starts to disrespect the other.

Do not interrupt

It is difficult not to interrupt the other party, especially when emotions are running high.  You must refrain from interrupting.  Let each person speaking finish their thought.  You will have your turn and will appreciate it when you are not being interrupted.  Interruptions also frustrate people leading to possibly not even wanting to conclude the mediation process.  You will get an opportunity to speak; remember that.

Work through resentment

Parties are frustrated, angry and full of resentment.  It is a rare situation if they are not; plain and simple.  A resolution of the matter can still be achieved if the parties can consent to a resolution that satisfies their interests better than having no deal.  Do not focus on the anger.  If you do, chances are you will be working towards a resolution.  Put the transgressions, if any, behind you and focus on resolving.

The decision makers must be involved

This pertains more to business involved in the litigation.  It is important for the person who can authorize decisions to be in attendance; they need to be able to accept an offer to a resolution, should one be made.

Bring documents to the mediation

Mediation involves working through issues, and with issues comes supporting documents such as invoices, receipts, contracts, financial statements, etc.  A mediator needs to see all pertinent documentation.  Ensure you bring it to the mediation.  It may mean the difference between resolving the issue and not resolving it and walking away frustrated.

Concentrate on your interests

It is important for each party to verbalize their interest in the dispute from the outset of mediation.  Do not get sidetracked by anything else.  Again, this also goes back to working past anger.  You know what your interests are and you must make it know both to the mediator and other parties involved.  You also need to know what the other parties’ interests are.  This is important for the mediation to be successful.

Build a deal

The goal here is a resolution of the matter.  You must work towards building a deal that all parties are content with, or at least satisfied. Both parties must work towards reaching a resolution.  Both parties must act in good faith.  It must work for both parties or else there is no deal. Mediation works if you are working towards that common goal.

Be persuasive

To be successful in mediation, you must be able to persuade the other parties.  In a successful mediation, you must be able to substantiate your position and how it would also benefit the other parties involved.  This goes back to getting past the anger, being respectful and not interrupting each other.  If you don’t abide by the other rules, you cannot get to this step.

Be a problem solver

In achieving resolution, the task is to reconcile.  You must be willing to problem solve, come up with solutions to the problem and offer options.  Those options must allow both parties to achieve enough of their interests that the options are better than no deal at all.

No idea brought forth should be rejected or criticized.  Essentially, counter-proposals are built off of each other’s ideas.  Once a number of options are on the table, then the parties can evaluate them and select those that are the most beneficial.

Remain calm and patient

Everyone thinks they are right.  Reaching a resolution takes patience.  You must be willing to listen with an open mind to be able to reach a resolution.  Mediation is a process; it takes time to address issues, and it takes time for people to change their minds. It is important for parties in mediation to allow time and to remain calm.  Mediations cannot be rushed, or they won’t work.

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