Cluadia took us through whole process of mediation, starting from how the mediating parties should be placed around the table (mediator near the door, so she can flip the table and run!). How to open the mediation, what to do with notes you took as a mediator (destroy them after the meeting due to confidentiality). She explained the procedure of “caucus” and why it is good to establish ground rules before starting the mediation. Sometimes you actually need to explain what is mediating so the sides do not expect you to be the judge. Whoever requested mediation starts. Remember about your body language, be present, pay attention. Note things like: if someone is repeating the same words, these might be very useful, the details of language, relations.

Empathise with what you hear. Sometimes mediation can be healing as it gives people chance to talk and to be listened to, so it gives them chance to unload. It makes you wonder if maybe sometimes people join mediation for a more “therapeutic” reason.

Ask questions, but be careful with curiosity, do not ask leading questions. Remember that parties may actually don’t want to listen to each other, they just want to say their part. They probably are not too concerned with you and just want to get their stories told. It may also happen the opposite, they will not say too much as they will feel threatened, or they will try to convince you to their side of story.

Useful tips&tools:

Generate movement, how to push process further? But remember that mediator is the person who should talk the least.

  • Normalize\reframe
  • Silence
  • Provide perspective
  • Partialize problems (break big issue in smaller ones)
  • Stroke (tell the parties that they are doing great job, BOTH OF THEM)
  • Humour (but don’t make fun of them, it can go wrong in so many ways…)
  • Future cast (Regarding future, “so what with your house, family, farm?)
  • Appreciative inquiry (Regarding past: bring back the moments, times that were good for the parties)
  • Test reality (is that realistic? Do you really think that this will work?)
  • BATNA (Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement, “what is your alternative if you walk out now?)
  • Break
  • Caucus – you do it when tensions and emotions are high, you feel that something is not being said, or shared in here, when you feel that you are missing something, so you separate them. Can be used when past comes back all the time, maybe an issue that they are avoiding to bring up, can be used when one of parties want to leave or are threatening to leave. So you walk out with one of the parties. Caucus needs to be used seldom. Try not to separate parties. If you have to caucus, try to do it short: 5-7min.

Agenda setting:

Try to keep it short and it should be a product of both parties. Do not allocate blame in the agenda. Common agenda items for example: communication, organisation, timetables, updates. As a mediator you should not add topics to agenda that were not decided up by the parties.

Different mediations for different topics, like for divorces etc.

Generate and Assess Options.

Agreement

  • Needs to be precise: who what when how

From Claudia’s experience sometimes it takes hours to come to an agreement, sometimes it can be only 30min, but it doesn’t have to mean that such case is less complicated.

Final thoughts about mediation: it is about service, so you offer your service, help to other people. It is not about the job that is awesome, but about creating space for the parties to come to an agreement. It is not about making justice.

Why I could not be a mediator?

  • Talk too much
  • Can`t control my face expressions
  • Too judgmental
  • Jump too fast to assumptions
  • Not humble enough
  • No humble at all actually.
  • Don’t have the patience to listen to all kind of bullshit stories
  • Don’t like excuses.
  • Would probably cry.
  • Not cool enough!

Thank you Claudia!!!

 

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