Successful Mediation For Reluctant or Skeptical Parties

When a dispute that affects your family or business arises, you probably want to resolve the issue as peacefully and quickly as possible. Mediation offers a collaborative environment in which you and the other party can negotiate and design the outcome, allowing you to retain some control over the result. However, when the other party approaches the process with skepticism or distrust, productive negotiations become difficult. Here are some strategies for enjoying a successful mediation process, even when one party appears uncooperative at first.

Understand the Benefits of Mediation

Successful mediation requires both parties to understand the benefits of this process. The mediator will provide an overview of the mediation process, showing how it allows the parties to shape the outcome instead of leaving the decision up to the judge. The collaborative nature of mediation often serves to preserve relationships between parties, and mediation tends to be much less expensive than litigation. Once the mediator has described the benefits of mediation, the reluctant party may warm to the idea.

Set Reasonable Expectations

Before you begin the mediation process, both parties should set clear and realistic expectations. The process does not require the parties to be on amicable terms; instead, they simply need to commit to communicating respectfully and honestly. You’ll also need to adjust your mindset and remain open to negotiation—compromise is an important aspect of mediation. The mediator will encourage both parties to articulate and adhere to these expectations, moving the conversation forward.

Trust the Mediation Process

The more information you have about the mediation process, the more you can trust the process. Recognize that the mediator is not there to take sides or determine the outcome; instead, the mediator’s role is to foster productive conversations and steer the parties toward a workable solution. When discussions stall, the mediator will step in to help the parties work through the particular conflict and move the conversation forward. While even complex disputes involving heated disputes can find success through mediation, it’s important to recognize that you have other options. You can stop the mediation process at any time and move the dispute to litigation if need be. Sometimes, simply knowing that you have options can give you the confidence and peace of mind to proceed.


If you are interested in learning more about the mediation process in Minneapolis and St. Paul, call Rubric Legal LLC at (612) 465-0074 today.

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