Helping parties bridge gaps is the obvious part of a mediator’s job. Less noticed is the remedial work with respect to things communicated between deal brokers before and during the mediation.
In hopes of illuminating areas for improvement, here are just a couple of ways parties vex, but could facilitate, their resolution efforts.
Say the right thing the wrong way. In real estate, it’s location, location, location. In negotiation it’s delivery, delivery, delivery. By this, I mean the “what,” the ”manner” and “by whom.” Wait a beat and consider whether you’ll get more receptivity or a more productive response with you or your mediator as the messenger.
Make demands that aren’t or can’t be substantiated (i.e., reasonably explained). At the outset, responses to demands and counter demands always begin with the curiosity of how they were arrived at. That’s because most of us find solace in rationale. It gives us a sense that logic of some sort (even if disagreeable) is in play — a potentially navigable framework. This, then, offers the chance for a bit of traction (logical discourse) and advancement. Have a breakdown prepared and on hand, even if not excessively detailed.
Even if you’re not the one stumbling into an issue like these, it helps to recognize if or when the other is so you can see your way past it and stay the course towards achieving your ultimate objective — resolution.