As the date for your upcoming mediation approaches, you may wonder how to best prepare yourself for a successful session. First, recognizing that mediation strongly encourages collaboration among the disputing parties can help you adjust your expectations. Whether your mediation involves a business or family law dispute, here are some simple ways that you can prepare yourself for a productive mediation process in Minnesota.
Strike a Balance Between Self-Advocacy and Collaboration
When you enter mediation, you probably have a strong belief in your position and a clear vision of your desired outcome. While it’s important to keep these principles in mind during the process, you’ll also need to remain open to negotiation and collaboration. Mediation isn’t something you win or lose. The point of mediation is to explore the possibility of agreement, to discover whether the parties share enough common ground to craft their own resolution instead of leaving it in the hands of a judge or jury.
When one party comes into mediation locked into their position and refuses to give any ground, the opportunity to collaborate on a solution is lost. Agreements are most likely when both parties come to mediation with both an understanding of what is important to them and a willingness to listen and, where appropriate, change their minds or compromise.
That doesn’t mean you should roll over for the sake of just getting an agreement. One of the benefits of mediation is that the mediator — as someone outside the fight — can help the parties dig beneath the surface of the dispute to reconsider the underlying interests. When they do that, parties often find their interests overlap in ways that lead to an agreement they didn’t expect. But sometimes a party realizes they can’t reach an agreement without giving up on something that is fundamentally important to them. In those cases, a settlement might not be the right outcome. Thinking about those key values before mediation will better prepare you to consider and balance proposed resolutions.
Bring Important Documents to the Mediation Session
You don’t want mediation to grind to a halt because the parties disagree over — or can’t remember — what a key document actually says. If there are documents that are key to your dispute, bring copies. That way, any confusion over their content can be quickly cleared up, leaving the parties free to focus their discussion on the resolution of the looming dispute.
Focus on Your Shared Goal
It’s natural for disagreements to arise during mediation. The mediator will use strategies to steer you towards productive conversations. Before the session begins—and at any point during the process—take a few moments to focus on the ultimate goal. Unlike a court case, the point of mediation is not for one side to prevail over the other. Instead, both parties should strive to negotiate a solution that addresses their interests. Keeping this goal in mind can reduce friction and encourage productive conversations during the session, increasing the chances of an agreement.
Interested in learning more about mediation in Minneapolis and St. Paul? Call Rubric Legal LLC today at (612) 465-0074 to speak to a knowledgeable business and family law mediator.