Keep These 10 Points in Mind as a Mediator

 

  • Remember: your goal is to get the disputants to agree with each other; it is not to pass judgment on the merits of their respective claims.
  • Never let your personal views on the merits of the dispute influence your mediation efforts.
  • It is not inappropriate and is, in fact, desirable for you to take control of the “housekeeping” or such procedural aspects of the dispute as where and when the meetings should be held, how long they should last and whether and when public statements should be issued to the media.
  • Emphasize at the outset the importance of clearly defining the issues in dispute and gathering and assessing the relevant facts.
  • Carefully avoid any statements or actions that might prejudice the bargaining position of either side.
  • Make no recommendations for settlement unless specifically asked to do so by both sides and even then bear in mind that your ability to continue mediating may be prejudiced if one side accepts your recommendations and the other side rejects them.
  • You may, however, offer suggestions providing you make clear that you are advancing them simply for discussion and not as a recommended solution.
  • Convey accurately any messages or proposals either side relays through you and honor and respect any confidences you are given.
  • Never go around the individuals designated by each side as their spokespersons; as the Bible says, “Accuse not a servant to his master.”
  • Keep in mind at all times that the measure of your success depends entirely on your ability to get both sides to agree with each other.