How to Survive Mediation Without Killing Your Partner

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What To Expect During Mediation

Can you think of any cool movies with a fantastically dramatic scene featuring mediation? Off the top of my head, I can’t either. That’s because legal dogfights and dramatic courtroom confrontations are way more interesting to watch on screen. Even though mediation is an incredibly powerful tool, if it’s done right, it will be deeply boring.

What Is Mediation?

Simply put, mediation is a process by which two warring parties ask a neutral third party to sit in between them and help them come to a solution. The degree of warring may differ, but usually, if the disagreeing parties are willing to enter into mediation, it means they haven’t yet crossed the line into screaming lawsuits and metaphorical grenades.

Mediation allows you to work together with the person with whom you are disagreeing, with the neutral third party listening to all sides and helping you come to a consensus. It’s usually informal and confidential and relatively inexpensive in comparison to a lawsuit.

What Does Mediation Look Like?

Although each mediation is a little different, generally speaking, you will follow these steps:

Step 1. Introductory Remarks
The mediator explains the boundaries, goals, and rules each side has agreed to.

Step 2. Joint Meeting
Each party gives their side of the story, listens to each other, and is given the opportunity to respond to things said.

Step 3. Private Meetings
The mediator meets with each party, going back and forth between the two rooms to try to bring about a consensus.

Step 4. Summary
The parties come back together and sign their consensus statement or perhaps agree to meet at a future date to continue discussions.

Mediation is an excellent solution if you find yourself in a disagreement with a business partner, vendor, or client. However, the best path is to be prepared for disagreements when you go into partnership with clear documents already drafted, so there is no need for mediation.

If you’d like help drafting a partnership agreement, vendor contracts, or fine print appropriate to your product or service, a business attorney can be a great resource. We’d love to help wherever you are in your process.

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