Want to resolve a problem through mediation? The genuine desire for a peaceful resolution is the first step to success. But desire, combined with skill and knowledge, is more likely to result in the success. With that in mind, consider these helpful hints:
PRIOR TO THE MEDIATION
- Remember the power of prayer. Pray for guidance and inspiration.
- Remember to be humble… and know when you need help and how to accept it.
- Turning the mind inward in self-examination will help you prepare. Here are a few questions on which to reflect:
- Am I attached to one specific outcome or am I open-minded and ready to find creative win-win possibilities?
- Do I look at the person on the other side of the table as my enemy, or as a partner in finding a path to resulution?
- Do I recognize that both parties are suffering and have perspectives they feel are justified?
- Is my attitude one of respectfulness for all?
- Plan to meet on neutral ground.
- Choose a mutually convenient time, keeping time-zones and travel in mind (recognize and don’t abuse power in planning).
- Be sure all parties leave enough time and are not rushed, and be sure to leave plenty of time to get to the resolution location. Studies show that when people are hurried, they do not exhibit compassion and results aren’t optimal
- Map out the conflict (5w’s – who what where when why).
- Understand options as well as possible prior to meeting, understand your outside limits to which you are prepared to go, before you are in the midst of the heat of the meeting.
- If mediation is between groups of different cultures, learn the other culture prior to the resolution meeting. Enlist assistance, so you minimize cultural missteps.
- Make a formalized plan for timing and handling of breaks and meals.
- Appoint an assistant to be in charge of the comfort of all parties, ensuring there is always plenty of water and healthful food that does not cause blood sugar to peak and that is respectful/reflective of the cultures involved.
- Visualize the ‘after party’ – the celebration after the successful resolution of the conflict. Go so far as to sketch out plans in your head, and daydream.
DURING THE MEDIATION
- Find ways to regularly check in with yourself, whether you are holding your breath, breathing shallowly, clenching your teeth or gut.
- As much as possible, maintain your prayerful connection with the divine, who will guide you towards peace with justice.
This article modified from an original written in 2009 for the UQ-Media.com web presence.