To have a successful mediation experience, you should come to the table well organized and prepared to explain your side of the story and listen to the other side’s perspective.
Some of the following tips will help guide you toward a productive mediation process:
- Confirm meeting logistics well in advance to ensure all parties and their representatives are present and ready to proceed. If there is tension, contact your mediator and they will be glad to confirm for you.
- Be sure that those present have authority to resolve the dispute. While it is generally more effective to have all parties gather in person, in some cases where logistics are a problem, the parties may agree to use video or teleconferencing if necessary.
- If you are meeting via video or teleconference, make sure your device is updated and ready to go. Coordinate with your mediator to set up a quick test connection a day or so before, to ensure there are no additional updates or issues so everything runs smoothly.
- Draft a concise and persuasive short mediation brief, if applicable. Deliver the brief to the mediator and/or the other parties well in advance of the mediation. Note: This is most common in business mediations, please check with your mediator, FIRST.
- Gather all relevant information and documentation that supports your position. Know your own materials very well and be ready to explain them.
- If you receive a brief from the other party, thoroughly review the other party’s brief and any supporting materials and be ready to ask questions, if you need clarification.
- Be willing to accept that new information and developments may arise as the mediation proceeds.
- LISTEN! Listening is vital to any successful mediation process.
- Focus on the problem, not on the people associated with the problem.
- Think about your negotiation strategies and tactics in advance. Be careful to consider how the other side might react to your tactics, and if your position is actually in your best interests.
- Be aware of how you are perceived and how your presentation encourages or prohibits a productive dialogue.
- Write out your BATNA / WANTA. Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement and Worst…. Many participants find a benefit to this. Simple write out what is best if you can agree, then write out what is the worst case if you cannot agree. This helps put your position in perspective.
- Spend time thinking through your settlement options and alternatives, and consider how you would respond to the other party’s potential offers in advance. Don’t limit yourself.
- Be creative and flexible. One of the advantages of mediation is that the solutions available are often more varied and flexible than those available through the court system.
- Think of mediation as a team effort where both sides play a critical role.
- Have a settlement goal in mind and know what your bottom line is in advance. Be reasonable in your evaluation of your position and use objective expert advice if necessary to help you determine the value of your case.
- Remember that the mediation process takes time to work, so prepare to have down time during a mediation and be patient while each party considers options and prepares responses.
- If you wish to consult an attorney, do so in advance. The mediator must know who will be attending the mediation to avoid conflicts of interest. If your attorney and the mediator have previous dealing or a personal relationship, the other side may refuse to continue. Avoid these issues by keeping the mediator advised of who will be attending.
- If you plan to call legal counsel, coordinate with then so they will be expecting your call. This helps reduce your stress and prevents long waits for your counsel.
We are experienced in helping clients prepare for the mediation process. Please contact us for a free consultation.