Mediation is often successful but it requires each party to have the right attitude going into the process. It is meant to be a more peaceful, less aggressive method of dispute resolution than litigation. The incentives of paying less to get a timely settlement are often enough to encourage the parties to make a genuine attempt. Regardless, there is always the potential for some, or all, of the issues at dispute to not be resolved. There are some ways that you can approach mediation that will help make it a better one.
Get the Smaller Issues Out of the Way First
You don’t have to jump in and work on the hard issues to put the process to the test. Starting with some of the smaller ones that will be easiest to resolve will give you a chance to become familiar with the process and put everyone at ease. Once you have some of the issues worked out, getting into the ones that are more difficult will be easier. Instead of being prepared for a confrontation, the parties know what to expect from the other side. Give everyone a chance to get their feet wet before they jump into the pool!
Leave the Lawyers Out of the Equation
Depending on the mediator you choose, legal representation for each party is not usually a requirement but it may be an option. Many experts feel that lawyers who normally represent clients in litigation are more likely to take control of the process. Mediation is most effective when everyone involved enters it with a different mindset than they would have in litigation. If you choose a certified mediator with the training and skills needed to guide negotiations and advise the parties on the laws, you don’t need the interference of litigation lawyers to intrude. Jeffrey M. Bloom is a certified mediator who explains that one of the biggest benefits of mediation is that the process is less restrictive than litigation in court.
Don’t Place Blame
The mediation process begins with the parties coming up with potential outcomes for their issues and then discussing them to determine which is the most fair to everyone. It isn’t about deciding who is right and who is wrong. Accusing the other party of being wrong in their beliefs will only cause animosity that will make them less likely to be open to compromise. In the end, it all comes down to compromising on both sides so that no one gets all of what they want and no one comes out a loser.
Choosing a Mediator
One of the most beneficial things you can do to make your mediation more successful is to do your research before settling on a mediator who you know nothing about to oversee the process. There is a lot of information online, both on the individual professional’s websites and on review sites from people who have experienced their mediation methods firsthand that you can use as a guideline to determine your potential for success.