A mediation meeting is a facilitated discussion between two or more people in conflict. It is different than a trial, in that there are no restrictions on the introduction of evidence and participants control the resolution rather than being subject to an imposed outcome by a judge or jury. The process starts with each participant describing their position and what they would like to see happen at the end of the mediation. The mediator will then use their facilitation and conversation management skills to help the participants move through their issues in a way that allows them to reach a mutually acceptable resolution.

It is very important that the participants be prepared for the mediation meeting. This can include having a written statement outlining their position. They should also prepare to provide any additional documentation that the mediator might request. It is also helpful for participants to discuss their position and what they would like to see at the end of the mediation with their lawyer prior to the mediation meeting.

The mediator will typically begin the mediation by encouraging everyone to introduce themselves and then explain their position on the matter. The plaintiff, or person who initiated the dispute, will go first and then each of the other parties will explain their position on the issue. The mediator will often entertain questions and ideas for resolution during this stage of the meeting.

After all of the opening statements, the mediator will likely have the parties go into separate rooms for what is called a caucus. This is a private discussion where the mediator will discuss the matter with each party individually and ask them questions to help them to understand the other side’s perspective on the issue. The mediator will then ask the parties if they are willing to consider the other side’s position.

Once the mediator has discussed the matter with the parties privately, they will generally return to the joint session and allow the parties to continue their discussions. The mediator will again encourage the parties to be creative about how they can resolve their differences and move forward in a positive manner.

At some point in the mediation, depending on the nature of the case and the participants’ willingness to compromise, the mediator will likely have the parties start to make offers and counter-offers to settle the matter. This is an extremely important step in the mediation because it enables each of the parties to decide what they are really willing to accept.

During the course of the mediation, it is normal for the participants to become frustrated and discouraged at times. However, it is also important for the participants to remember that the mediator is trying very hard to resolve the matter and that the process takes time. It is recommended that the participants plan on being at the mediation meeting for about a half-day to ensure that they do not feel rushed. This will give them the best chance of reaching a satisfactory resolution to the matter.  mediation meeting