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Reply To: ODR tips

Joanne LawJoanne Law

Video Mediation has the same basic process and purpose as face to face mediation in a room but there are some differences.

Your opening statements should include an explanation of what to do if their internet connection drops during the session, provide a phone number and instructions.

You also need to be mindful that you need to be more verbal than you are used to. You get more non-verbal communication than communication via phone (audio only) or text / email messaging but it isn’t the same as being in a room.

In some ways that is a good thing because it forces you as a mediator to ask more and assume less. The mind reads involved in empathy can be projections rather than real reflections of what someone is feeling and having to verbally check-in if strong emotions are expressed for example is helpful.

The other thing to think about is what tools you can use to make the process more visual and engaging. Legal tech, google docs and sharing your screen are just three of the options.

Finally don’t try and do full day mediations! Agreement by exhaustion is not justified by the logistical constraints that require mediations to go on for hours and hours in face to face formats where people have to travel to a central location. Online people don’t have to travel so the need for those types of mediations is lower. It is better to schedule a series of sessions online rather than try and deal with major issues in one session. 2 or 3 hours at a time with breaks is about the limit I would be prepared to do.