When you wish you could have a second chance to say what you mean
Did you ever wish you could run that important conversation again? Second time round, you just know that you would say what you meant so much better? Mediation gives you that chance.
At a Global Mediation recently, we had a preliminary meeting with Max, the senior official representing a large local authority. He had been to several mediations before and had come well prepared.
We sensed, however, that Max was a little nervous. My colleague briefly outlined what would happen when everyone was to meet shortly. She told him that the other party would speak first and reassured Max that it would then be his turn to talk without interruption. Max began outlining what he would say. We suggested that he might like to hold his thoughts until the joint meeting. Max told us, with a relived smile ‘This is good. I am rehearsing what I will say.’
We listened carefully to Max, in this private meeting. When he asked for our comments, we asked him how he thought the other party would hear what he had said. After a pause, he said ‘They might think that I am being defensive and inflexible, which is absolutely not my intention.’ He had another go at presenting the points he wanted to get across.
Soon after, we came together in joint session. Following the other party’s impassioned introduction Max began with a fulsome acknowledgement of their plight followed by a commitment to try to work out a solution which would work for everyone. This set the tone for the rest of the difficult conversation which resulted in a settlement of all the issues in dispute.
So mediation can allow you to perfect your messages. You can use the mediators as a sounding board. Private meetings offer the space and time to think through what and how you say things. All this will give you an excellent chance of getting what you want – and resolving the dispute.