Friday, January 5, 2018

Tools for Success in Mediation


1.Be willing to listen. It benefits both sides to really hear the other side’s thoughts and ideas! Listening to each person's concerns can help you both understand what options might be available and open up ideas that you haven’t yet considered. If you think you are hearing things you’ve heard before, try to listen with a different viewpoint to consider what the other person is suggesting. 

 2.Use cooperative language.  Words matter!! The words we choose when we talk absolutely affect how we are understood. The old adage, "choose your words wisely" is still very meaningful! Ask yourself if the words you are using to express yourself are going to get your ideas and concerns across to the other person? 

 3.Be open to new ideas.  New information or new ideas may create different alternatives for solutions.  How does the new information affect your thinking on an issue?  One of the benefits of mediation is that you have ultimate control over the outcome and have the ability to address many interests that a court could not consider. 

 4. Be an active participant. Your input is necessary and important! Many couples have a dynamic in which one spouse can be more vocal than the other.  One may be more argumentative, louder, or aggressive. One may be more agreeable, conciliatory, or willing to “give in” just to have the discussion conclude.  Mediation requires hard work, patience, flexibility and creativity on the part of the participants.  If you have an idea, make a proposal. If a proposal is made to you and you are not agreeable to it, make a counterproposal with terms you are agreeable to.

5.  Try to leave the past in the past. It is very true that past experiences and conduct can shape our concerns.  However, the goal of mediation is to come to agreements as you move forward with your lives, not to rehash the past! Be open to try to create new patterns for your interactions.  The past is the past and you cannot change it but you can change the future if you are willing to try.