1. Arrive at your mediation knowing what you want (and what you don’t).
It’s important to do your homework before you start your mediation. Have a clear idea of what your priorities are for this mediation, and what you ultimately want out of it.
2. But also, come with an open mind.
It’s equally important to come to your mediation with an open mind. Mediation is about compromise and collaboration, and you’re there to hear what the other side has to say. You need to keep your mind open so that you can leave the table with the issue settled.
3. Don’t be rushed. Allow yourself enough time to make important decisions.
This tip may sound obvious, but it is key to take as much time as you and the other party need to resolve the dispute. You are making big decisions, and you want to reach a full and complete conclusion.
4. Listen, listen, listen! Listening to the other side will ultimately help you be heard.
Emotions are going to play a big role in your mediation which can sometimes make listening difficult. However, if you listen respectfully and understand the other side’s perspective, the other party is also more likely to hear you and understand your perspective.
5. Think of mediation as a team endeavor, so participate fully!
Mediation is not a solo activity. It requires active participation from everyone involved. Make sure that when you show up, you are fully present and ready to participate because that is the only way anything is going to be accomplished.
Blog by Kate Bauman of Little Falls Mediation
Ellice Halpern, J.D., is a Virginia Supreme Court certified general and family mediator.