Attending a mediation can be stressful for participants. Having an understanding of what will happen in a mediation and undertaking some pre-planning can provide participants with a level of confidence.

Here  is an overview of what you can expect


Mediation process at a glance

Here are some key points about the mediation process:

  • allow 4 hours for the session
  • both participants will be seated on the same side of a table, with the mediator sitting opposite
  • pen and paper will be provided for each participant
  • if a support person attends, they will have a non-speaking role and will sit at the back of the room
  • participants will be asked to talk about what has happened to date
  • plenty of time is available to respond to comments made by the other participant
  • there will be a break of approx. 15 mins for each person about 3/4 of the way through the session
  • after the break, participants will be encouraged to offer ideas on how the issues in conflict can be addressed
  • participants (and not the mediator) make all decisions about the agreements.


Role of the mediator

The mediator plays a key role in managing the process. The mediator will:

  • confidentially speak with each participant 1-1, before the session, to confirm the issues are suitable for mediation
  • guide participants through the process so they won’t have to remember all of the steps
  • encourage participants to stay focused on the list of items for discussion
  • type the agreement and provide each participant with a copy
  • destroy all of their own notes after the session (with the exception of the agreement document)
  • keep an e-copy of the agreement in case either participant requires another copy
  • make decisions related to the process only; participants (and not the mediator) make all decisions about the agreements.


Role of the participants

For the participants in a mediation to gain the most from the session, here are some things to consider ahead of time:

  • come with the intent of wanting to resolve the issues, or at least most of the issues
  • demonstrate respect to the other person and the mediator
  • listen while the other person is speaking; participants will be provided pen and paper to take notes and both people will have plenty of time to talk (the mediator makes sure of this)
  • be specific when sharing your thoughts, instead of saying – “You’re always late!”, be specific and identify dates and times
  • what would the worst possible outcome be, for each person attending
  • what would the best possible outcome be, for each person attending
  • think about ways the issues could be resolved; out-of-the box ideas are welcome
  • be flexible with outcomes you would like from the session because once you’ve heard everything from the other person, you may want to adjust your outcomes and that’s okay
  • if no agreement is reached, what do you believe your next step is
  • participants (and not the mediator) make all decisions about the agreements.