What happens at a Mediation Session?
The mediation session will usually involve the following steps:
- The mediator will introduce attending parties and ask them to agree to the process and ask them to follow some ground rules.
- The mediator will give each party a chance to explain what their view of the problem is.
- The mediator facilitates parties to discuss the problems which they have described.
- The mediator may talk to parties separately and/or give the parties time to talk to their lawyers or support people.
- If parties can come to an agreement, the mediator will help parties decide how they want it recorded. (for example, terms of settlement through their lawyers)
How do I talk and listen during mediation?
Some tips to help you get the most out of mediation:
It is important to avoid communication barriers in mediation.These barriers tend to be antagonistic and face-losing interactions. They can put the other party on the defensive and invoke a negative response. Avoid “You” statements, judging or coercing the other party, self-serving biases, attribution error, poor interpersonal conflict communication skills are all barriers to communication. The fewer barriers to communication there are in mediation dialogue, the greater the chance that the parties will communicate effectively, understand each other, and work toward a mutually beneficial outcome.
Preparing for mediation.
When it is your time to talk, focus on the issues you decided were important. Make a note of the issues that are more important to you. You may wish to list your issues under headings of what is a give-away, negotiable and non-negotiable to help you focus on those issues.
Avoid anger and try to keep calm.
People will hear and understand you better if you stay calm. Sometimes this can be difficult. A “flight” or “fight” survival instinct should not be allowed to take over. In such a state, effective communication is unlikely since it is difficult for an emotional person to think rationally and to listen to another. If you are getting upset, you can ask the mediator for a break. The mediator will address emotional issues in the mediation process and use normalizing, and face-saving techniques to facilitate effective communication with emotional participants.
Listening is essential to the mediation process. This will be your chance to understand what the other party is upset about. You might learn something new; or hear something said in a new way that helps you understand their perspective on the dispute.