Mediation

Mediation is a process of third-party involvement in a dispute. A mediator cannot impose an outcome but rather assists the disputing parties in reaching their own agreement. Mediation can be used in a wide range of disputes, including labor disputes, public policy disputes, disagreements among nations, family disputes, and neighborhood and community quarrels. According to research, about 80% of dispute mediations lead to resolution.

A mediator must be able to command trust and confidence by building a rapport with the parties in the mediation process. Opponents must feel their interests are truly understood, because only then can a mediator reframe problems and float creative solutions.

As compared with other forms of dispute resolution, mediation can have an informal, improvisational feel. It can include some or all of the following mediation techniques for conflict resolution:

Planning: Before the process begins, the mediator helps the parties decide where they should meet and who should be present.

Joint discussion: After each side presents its opening remarks, the mediator and the disputants are free to ask questions with the goal of arriving at a better understanding of each party’s needs and concerns.

Caucuses: If emotions run high during a joint session, the mediator might split the two sides into separate rooms for private meetings, or caucuses.

Negotiation: At this point, it’s time to begin formulating ideas and proposals that meet each party’s core interests—familiar ground for any experienced negotiator. A mediator can lead the negotiation with all parties in the same room, or may engage in “shuttle diplomacy,” moving back and forth between the teams, gathering ideas, proposals, and counterproposals.

These and other techniques and strategies are discussed in articles available at PON.


Download this FREE special report, Mediation Secrets for Better Business Negotiations: Top Techniques from Mediation Training Experts, to discover mediation techniques for selecting the right mediator, understand the mediation process and learn how to engage the mediator to ensure a good outcome from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

Mediation Process and Business Negotiations: How Does Mediation Work in a Lawsuit?

PON Staff   •  05/26/2016   •  Filed in Mediation

How does mediation work in a lawsuit? What benefits can mediation offer businesses that deal with multiple contractual agreements, some of which may end in disputes? These questions were answered by Harvard Law School Associate Professor and negotiation expert Dan Greiner in an “Ask the Negotiation Coach” segment from our Negotiation Briefings newsletter. … Read More 

Techniques for Leading Multiparty Negotiations: Structuring the Bargaining Process

PON Staff   •  04/25/2016   •  Filed in Mediation

Imagine leading negotiations involving representatives from most of the world’s nations on a contentious topic such as sustainable development. Where would you start? How would you proceed when conflict emerged? How would you know when it was time to wrap things up?

These are some of the questions that Ambassador Tommy Koh has faced over the … Read More 

Mediation and Problem Solving Skills: Sitting Down at the Table

PON Staff   •  04/21/2016   •  Filed in Mediation

What specific negotiation techniques do mediators use to bring disputants to the bargaining table in alternative dispute resolution scenarios? This article describes some common negotiation situations that mediators have encountered and the bargaining strategies they used to overcome deadlock and bring contentious parties together in a negotiated agreement. … Read More 

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