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


a good mediator

What is a Good Mediator?

What makes a good mediator? And how is it that mediators—who themselves lack any power to impose a solution—nevertheless often lead bitter disputants to an agreement?

One of the central skills of a good mediator is the ability to solve problems. They are process specialists, adept at moving people from narrow positional bargaining toward a problem-solving approach.

And though mediators have no power to impose an outcome on the parties involved, they can put forth proposals that meet the interests of both parties. They don’t respond to irrational behavior, and they don’t make unilateral concessions to win one party over the other.

Perhaps most importantly, however, is that a good mediator is able to build relationships. According to a survey by Northwestern University law professor Stephen Goldberg, veteran mediators believe that establishing rapport is more important to effective mediation than employing specific mediation techniques and tactics. Before people are willing to settle, they must feel that their interests are truly understood. 

This is true even when the mediator doesn’t have the technical knowledge to discuss a problem. A good mediator doesn’t need to fully understand the technical aspects of a problem to assess why the dispute is important to each party and which solutions each party might accept. By beginning with this knowledge and eventually exchanging settlement proposals, the interest-based mediator can help parties resolve the most complex technical problems.

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

We will send you a download link to your copy of this free report and notify you by email when we post new information on our website about how to handle conflict management.

The following items are tagged a good mediator:

Dear Negotiation Coach: To Get Unstuck, Hire a Mediator

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

Most business people understand the value of using mediation to resolve conflicts, but did you know that professional mediators can help you reach an agreement during the dealmaking phase? Stephen Goldberg, professor emeritus at Northwestern School of Law, describes how you can hire a mediator to aid both parties in creating value at the negotiating … Read More 

How Mediation Works

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

When negotiators can’t come to agreement but want to avoid an expensive, time-consuming, and potentially rancorous lawsuit, mediation is often their most logical choice. Mediation can help to resolve a wide range of disputes. … Read More 

How to Deal with a Difficult Mediator

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

Francesca Gino, Program on Negotiation faculty member and author of the bestselling book, Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed and How We Can Stick to the Plan, tackles this question from a Negotiation Briefings reader concerning how to deal with a mediator that is abrasive, dismissive, or even rude. … Read More 

How Your Organization Can Benefit from Mediation Techniques

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

If you manage people, disputes will show up at your door. The marketing VP protests that the budget cap you and your new finance VP proposed is hindering a research initiative you supported. Two young sales representatives are embroiled in a turf war. Your administrative assistant is upset because the HR director won’t approve the … Read More 

When a private dispute goes public

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

This past June, a long-standing family feud erupted in public when Arthur S. Demoulas, an owner of the New England low-price grocery chain Market Basket, fired his cousin Arthur T. Demoulas, also an owner, from his position as the company’s CEO. Many of the company’s 25,000 employees, who had received good wages, bonuses, and profit … Read More 

Planting the Seeds of Peace

Posted by & filed under Middle East Negotiation Initiatives, Negotiation Skills.

Tucked away in an idyllic corner of Maine is a summer camp that features many traditional American activities: singing around bonfires, flag raising ceremonies, Color Wars, and chilly dips in the lake. Less ordinary, however, are the daily dialogue sessions, where Israeli and Palestinian campers heatedly discuss their identities, homelands, politics, and pain. Meet Seeds of … Read More