Preparing for Mediation
The mediation you have scheduled is an unique opportunity for you and the other mediating party to have a productive conversation, which can result in decisions that satisfy everyone. Mediation requires more effort and imput from participants than the legal route because it is a self-directed process. The content of your discussion, and any decisions or agreements you reach, originate with you and the person with whom you have come to mediate.
This increased responsibility brings with it a greater level of control over the result. Mediation offers opportunities for win-win outcomes, where everyone is heard and respected, while using your own decision-making power.
Focus on the issues. Separate the people from the issues so that you can concentrate on negotiating and solving the problems and avoid wasting time attempting to control each other.
Be as honest as you can be with each other. There is no need to prove anything to the mediators. Your mediators do not make decisions, reports, or judgments. They are not arbitrators. They have absolutely no reason to hear arguments about blame, fault-finding, or guilt.
Think about what you need and want. Consult with others in advance, including attorneys, if applicable. Think about who needs to be present. Come prepared for your discussion.
Focus on the future for solutions that satisfy the needs of everyone involved. Use your experience from the past to avoid what will not work for you and to create realistic solutions that will work for you. Look for plans that will benefit you both.
Be civil. Name calling and insults will interfere with the mediation process. Use decent language and keep an open attitude. Work with the mediators to keep the conversation positive and productive.
Focus on solutions. Once you have identified your issues, there is no need to go back in time and rehash history. The past cannot be changed. Invent new ways of dealing with these issues.
Relax. Take a breath. Keep the big picture in mind. There is time for everyone to be heard. Be as ready to listen as you are to speak.