Have you reached the end of the road in negotiations of your conflict? Do you feel as though you have tried everything and you just can’t get resolution? Do you need assistance from a neutral third party – a trained mediator – to reach resolution? If you have answered YES to the above questions, then you need a qualified mediator. But finding the right mediator is critical to the success of the mediation. I mean if the mediator was insignificant to the process then you would have resolved the matter through your negotiations. So, how do you find THE mediator? What should you consider in selecting the mediator? There are so many to choose from. Here are the three things you should consider when selecting your mediator:
1. Match the Conflict to the Mediator’s Experience. Not everyone can be good at everything. Right? While the mediation process and the strategies of mediation and negotiation may be the same regardless of the crux of the conflict, it is abundantly valuable if the mediator understands the topic of the conflict and can come to the table with that experience from the beginning. For example, I have spent the better part of my career negotiating, structuring and closing real estate and business transactions. I understand real estate contracts, loan documents and shareholders agreements. Therefore, I come to the table with 20 years of experience in these areas. I add value to the mediation process when I sit down at the table on conflicts involving real estate or business disputes because you do not have to spend time educating me on the mechanics of real estate or business conflicts. For these types of conflicts, I’m a good match. For other types of conflicts such a dispute involving ERISA issues, I would not be the best match. Like other professionals, you just can’t be a jack of all trades.
2. Match the Personality of the Mediator to the Personalities of the Parties. Understanding the characterics and termperment of the parties to the conflict (i.e., meek, agressive, etc.) and seeking a mediator who has the personality traits and temperment to connect with the personalities of the parties is also important. Everyone has there own style, manner of communication and way of working with people. These stylistic differences should also be considered. A good mediator needs to connect to the parties in order to best faciliate a resolution.
The mediator you select matters. Excellent mediators are not always the right choice for every conflict. Ask the right questions and get the right information and you will find the right mediator.
Jena Rissman Atlass