Mediation is a delicate process. One of the best options for dispute resolution, it can be used in virtually every kind of case. To be successful, though, mediation means interested parties working together toward a settlement, and there are many different things that can go wrong in the process.
Are there things you shouldn’t say during mediation to help ensure you bring your case to a resolution? Absolutely!
Don’t Refuse to Participate.
Among the most important mediation tips is to actually participate in the process. You don’t want to say anything that makes the other side think you’re refusing to participate. If you do, you may not have the option of participating at all. If mediation fulfills a requirement set out by the judge, that could put you at a real disadvantage, or even in violation of a court order. Instead, offer to participate as fully as possible. Since you always have the ability to say “no” to a proposed settlement, and mediation is confidential, you have nothing to lose by participating.
Don’t Refuse to Bring Key Materials.
The documents involved in your dispute are incredibly important, and you should bring anything that will help the mediator understand what’s at stake. Imagine, for example, you’re involved in an employment contract dispute. Make sure that contract is with you. The key materials involved in your case have to be part of the process if it’s going to be successful.
Don’t Refuse to Acknowledge the Other Side.
More often than not, parties think they’re right when they walk into a mediation session, but refusing to acknowledge the other side’s key points is only going to get you in trouble. Most mediators’ tips for client participants include a need to acknowledge when the other side is right.
The mediator may decide to end the session because you’re being uncooperative. Don’t focus on just demonstrating you’re right. Instead, listen to what they have to say, and if they’re right, give them that point.
Don’t Be Disrespectful.
Respect is absolutely essential in every situation, but that’s particularly true during mediation. You want to avoid being disrespectful if possible, as that will not only make the other side not want to work with you, it may also make the mediator not want to work with you as well.
This isn’t just about being nice. Instead, it’s about offering real respect for the other side and the mediator who has agreed to take your case.
Don’t Ignore Their Interests.
Knowing what you want during mediation is important, but knowing what they want is almost more important. Understand what they want from the process, and try to put yourself in their shoes. Identifying their interests can help you see the entire situation from their perspective, and that may mean accessing information you don’t currently have but could help solve the problem.
Mediation often begins with anger, but you must control that anger if you are to successfully come up with a solution. Don’t raise your voice or say swear words during the process. Instead, work on regulating your own emotions. It’s okay to express your emotions constructively, but too much anger during mediation can certainly get you in trouble.
Mediation may seem like a far cry from how you anticipated things would roll out, however it is a process that can help create an agreement where it wasn’t previously possible. You hold the key to successful mediation by avoiding trouble spots and working toward a real agreement.