What happens at a mediation?

There are basically five stages of the Mediation process, as follows:

1. The Mediator’s Opening Statement
a. Explains the nature of mediation and the roles the parties and the mediator will play in the process.
b. Explains steps in the mediation process, mediator’s particular style and mediation guidelines.
c. Establishes the mediator as the leader of the session and provides the opportunity to establish trust.

2. The Parties’ Initial Statements
a. Provides parties the opportunity to participate directly in the process by explaining their problem.
b. Provides mediator with information about the problem.
c. Provides parties the opportunity to hear the other party’s concerns from them directly in a controlled environment.
d. Helps parties to broaden their perspective of the problem.

3. Defining The Problem
a. Uncovers the parties concerns, needs and desires (interests).
b. Brings order and structure to ill-defined problems.
c. Provides mediator an opportunity to assist parties in developing an agenda, wherein parties can be assured that their concerns will be addressed.

4. Problem Solving and Negotiation
a. Assists parties in making good decisions concerning how to resolve the problem.
b. Assists parties in viewing the problem objectively.
c. Assist parties in avoiding common negotiation mistakes.

5. Final Decision and Closure
a. Assists parties to clarify terms of agreement.
b. Assists parties to finalize and, if appropriate, memorialize agreement in writing.
c. Brings closure to the matter.
d. Determines the extent to which the mediator needs to participate in post-mediation activities.