When entering a mediation session, whether in person or virtually, understanding what to expect is crucial. The certified mediator leads the process, ensuring everyone is familiar with each other, addressing concerns, and setting the tone for a voluntary and controlled environment.
The Voluntary Nature of Mediation
Acknowledging concerns and fears, the mediator emphasizes that control lies with the participants. Unlike court proceedings, mediation is entirely voluntary, aimed at uncovering existing solutions rather than imposing decisions.
Appreciation and mutual understanding
Acknowledging the difficulty of participation, the mediator appreciates everyone’s presence and encourages empathy toward each other’s apprehensions. Emphasizing their role as mediators, they assure neutrality and aim to alleviate pressure.
Storytelling and active listening
Using a story analogy, the mediator emphasizes the need for both parties to set aside their emotional “high beams” in conflict. They encourage each party to share their story, thoughts, and emotions, promising active and confidential listening sessions.
Handling Disagreements and Venting
In the process, disagreements may arise, but the mediator urges participants not to engage in debate. Allowing statements to vent without contention can sometimes aid in resolving conflicts.
Subtext and Communication Dynamics
Participants are encouraged to read between the lines, trying to understand the underlying messages beyond factual disagreements, promoting respectful dialogue.
Conduct and energy management
Maintaining civility is crucial. Yelling, swearing, or personal attacks detract from progress. The mediator asks for respectful communication and promises confidentiality within the sessions.
Mediator’s Role and Acceptance
The mediator emphasizes their role as a solution-finder, reassuring participants that expressing themselves without judgment is welcomed and recognizing stress-induced behaviors as a common human trait.
Partiality for Resolution
The mediator acknowledges partiality—not towards any party but towards achieving a resolution. They shoulder the responsibility, alleviating pressure from the participants.
Resolution or Impasse
Outlining possible outcomes—resolution leading to formalized agreements or an impasse—the mediator emphasizes the significance of this opportunity for control before relinquishing it.
Addressing Complaints and Objections
Addressing objections or complaints as steps toward resolution, the mediator highlights that not all expressed concerns serve as permanent obstacles, encouraging participants to navigate through them.
Request for Cooperation and Commitment
Lastly, seeking commitment and time availability from the participants, the mediator asks for cooperation in the process, underscoring that participation is voluntary yet invaluable in reaching a resolution.
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