Walking into mediation can be daunting. You may feel nervous, uncomfortable and unsure what to expect. Taking some time and preparing for mediation will increase your confidence and ensure that you are able to express yourself and be heard. Below you will find a step-by-step guide to preparing for mediation. I suggest setting aside at least 90 minutes of uninterrupted time to work through these questions before your mediation day.
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Prior to your mediation
You may find it useful to write some notes as you think about the questions below.
I also offer pre-mediation coaching to help you prepare if the mediation is being conducted by another mediator, for example: Magistrates’ Court of Victoria; Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT); Family Dispute Resolution; Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria. See the Help and Coaching page for details.
What is the issue in dispute? What are the problems to be resolved?
- Focus on actions, behaviours and outcomes rather than on people and personalities.
- Prepare a short statement outlining why you are attending mediation. Stick to the facts and key issues.
How does the issue/dispute affect me, my family, or my business?
- Think of tangible, measurable ways in which the issue or dispute impacts you.
How would I like the issue or dispute to be resolved?
- If you had a ‘magic wand’ what outcome would you want?
- Try to think of at least 2 or 3 other options or proposals to make to the other person.
- Imagine how each option might play out. How would you measure the success of the outcome or proposal?
Plan to have some time to reflect on the mediation process. This might be meeting a friend for coffee, going for a walk, writing in your journal or talking with your partner. Try not to schedule demanding activities immediately after your mediation.
If possible, have someone at work take phone messages, and activate the “out of office” reply on your email; arrange for someone else to collect the kids or cook dinner so that you can have some “time out” to contemplate what has taken place.