Mediation is negotiation facilitated by a trusted neutral person.
The role of the neutral — the mediator — is to help those involved sort out their issues and arrive at a consensus. That might involve helping parties to finalise an agreement, resolve a dispute, develop effective communications, build or improve relationships, or all these things. Mediators do not take sides. Mediators are impartial.
Mediation is a confidential process where what was discussed or agreed in private is not disclosed to others without everyone’s agreement. Where mediation is used to try to avoid or resolve a dispute, and if the mediation does not result in an agreement, the parties can still go to court. Details about what went on at the mediation will not be disclosed or used at a court hearing. Mediators uphold confidentiality.
Usually parties share the task of selecting a mediator and the cost of the mediation.
For more on the definition of mediation, see ‘Stop Shovelling Smoke‘ — an article by former IMI Director Michael Leathes.
The Walk from No to Yes
In October 2010, The Walk From No To Yes was the subject of a 20-minute TED Talk given by William Ury, one of the world’s leading dispute facilitators and a member of the IMI Advisory Council. Whether your conflict concerns community, family, business or politics, how you and the other side view it has a major bearing on its progress and outcome. This must rank as one of the most inspiring and instructive speeches ever on dealing with a conflict. To watch this talk, see below or click here to be taken to the TED website.