Heading into mediation to iron out a business dispute can feel like preparing for a big presentation. You want to be well-prepared and open to finding a middle ground. It’s less about winning at all costs and more about reaching a solution that all parties can live with.
Mediation can often be a faster, less expensive, and more amicable route than heading straight into the courtroom. To get the most out of this process, a bit of preparation can go a long way. Here’s how you can get your ducks in a row before you step into that mediator’s office.
Understanding the process
Make sure you understand what mediation involves. It’s a confidential process where a neutral third party, the mediator, helps both sides discuss their issues and find a solution to which they can both say yes. Unlike a judge, a mediator doesn’t make decisions but helps guide communication and negotiation.
Gather your materials
Before mediation, gather any documents related to the dispute. This might include contracts, emails, letters or anything else pertinent to the issue. Being organized is vital. You should know your documents inside and out to reference specific points during the discussion.
Know your objectives
Be clear on your goals, but also understand what you’re willing to compromise on. A successful mediation often involves give-and-take from both sides. Identify your ‘must-haves’ and your ‘nice-to-haves.’
Keep your emotions in check. Mediation can be tense, but getting angry or upset will only derail the process. Stay calm and professional and focus on the problem.
Ultimately, you have to be willing to negotiate if you want mediation to be successful. By preparing your side, you’re putting yourself in the best position to get the process moving forward.