Mediation works best when both parties come in with the right mindset. The mediator will guide you in this process, but there are things you can do that will help make your mediation successful:
1. Be respectful. It makes the mediation a lot more pleasant, and it facilitates open communication that is more likely to result in settlement. Mediation works when both parties are willing to listen and understand the other’s interests and needs.
2. Be reasonable. Make and consider offers that are reasonable. Taking extreme or unreasonable positions, or positions intended just to incite the other person, is counterproductive.
3. Be settlement-oriented in your speech. Communicate what you want without making accusations. Acrimonious speech and conduct (including body language) can delay or prevent settlement. It is in your interest to say things in a manner that will convince the other person that what you want is reasonable and mutually beneficial.
4. Be prepared. If you know certain information is necessary before you can settle, try to obtain that information before the mediation.
5. Be flexible and forward thinking. Be willing to explore new ideas, and leave past conflicts behind you.
6. Be generous. A little generosity goes a long way, and it encourages the same behavior in others. Look for consensus wherever you may find it. If an apology will help the other person move forward, consider giving it.
7. Be positive and patient. Mediations are usually successful. However, settlement often requires hard work, a positive outlook and time.
Alona M. Gottfried is a mediator and attorney in Arizona. If you have questions about mediation, she can be reached at: 480-998-1500 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be legal advice. See a legal professional before making legal decisions.