Some Things Are Best Said By Your Mediator

kermitThere are some things a mediator is better able to deliver.  Think:  purpose, receptivity and effect.

Without taking sides, a skilled mediator can deliver messages in a way that enhances receptivity and reasoned exploration. Recognize that taking strong positions during the joint caucus may be hard to resist, but conveying them through a mediator may overcome the tuning-out response and perception of adversarial breast-beating.

Mediators’ opening statements are also more purposeful than many realize. The mediator’s joint caucus address – describing the process and ground rules, explaining what mediation is capable of accomplishing or not, limiting the initial exchange, etc. – lets the mediator inure confidence, draw focus and demonstrate neutrality from the outset. Beware, therefore, of overlapping the mediator’s role in setting the stage for the work ahead, or you may unwittingly undermine her opportunity to build trust and effectively manage the process.

In short, value temperance. I understand that a client may need to hear his attorney strongly advocate in front of his opponent, make sure the mediator is well enough informed, and allay concerns that the mediator may not relay things with the weight one feels is necessary. Over-sharing or over-positioning in the initial joint caucus, however, can thwart the overarching objective by further polarizing the parties and creating a setback to the prospect of settling.

To help hold back, remember that private caucuses provide plenty of opportunity to express and explain.  See, The Value of Private Caucuses – Air, Err and Calibrate.

Each person at the mediation table has an important role.  Let those be fulfilled and the result should be a smoother road to resolution.

About Maria Hanna Joseph

Maria Hanna Joseph is Principal of Joseph Mediation. Her 25 years of experience in employment law, include 16+ of work and mediating for the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination which through which she has gained valuable insight into the MCAD, its practices and decision making. This, as well as her experience in plaintiff and defense litigation, with private and public sector clients, international and local business concerns, and in issues from harassment and discrimination, to noncompetition agreements, business operation, transgender workplace matters, retaliation and many others, lend her valuable perspective for understanding and mediating an array of legal and personal issues. In terms of volume, Maria has served more than 2,000 cases. Maria's practice has been honed with study of mediation at Harvard Law School's Program of Instruction for Lawyers, negotiation at Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiation, and in the disciplines of Transformative Mediation and Family/Domestic Mediation, which are significant assets in managing the personal nature of employment disputes, and conflict in general. Attorneys and parties know Maria as candid, pragmatic and persevering in her commitment to help them achieve meaningful settlements while keeping sight of their most important interests. The insight and creativity afforded by her experience and training are realized in the resolutions that manifest. These qualities, along with her demeanor and the trust she engenders, have earned Maria a reputation for being able to manage highly tense and fraught situations and individuals, and settle a wide variety of disputes and tough cases.
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