There have been many articles written about mediation and what clients should do to prepare for their first mediation session. These activities including being on time, speaking to your mediator before hand, and even bringing snacks to the meeting. This type of information should be provided by the mediator or his staff to the clients well before the first mediation sessions. The focus of this post will be how mediators can prepare themselves for large group mediations. However, this information can also be valuable to clients participating in large group mediation.
The first task at a large group mediation should be identifying all those involved or affected. In order for all relevant parties to be at the mediation table, mediators and their staff often have to conduct extensive interviews. The people at the table should be those who were critical players and all of these critical players should be encouraged to attend. If there is a dispute, stakeholders from all sides must be represented. When a decision is reached, all parties present at the mediation must agree to it. Mediators may want to use the process of “fanning out” to identify and contact all relevant parties. This means asking the originally identified parties to provide contact information for other involved in the situation. By using this technique, you will be able to identify both proponents and opponents in the case.
It may be helpful to involve parties that are not directly involved if they can help resolve the conflict at hand. These outsides may be part of a network or community that can make sure that agreements are followed after the mediation session has ended. If there is ever any question about whether or not someone should be included in a mediation meetings, it is better to include them to be safe. When there are many parties involved, it is crucial to make sure that each side or party is equally represented. No party should feel like their viewpoint or opinion was underestimated or undervalued compared to someone else. This can create problems when a final decision is reached and in the future. Participation should also be balanced during the mediation. Each group should get the same amount of time to speak up. We hope this post has been helpful to our clients when they are preparing to participate in a large group mediation.
Source referenced: Mediate