The advantages of mediation over litigation are many, including the chance to solve a dispute quickly, greatly reduced costs and the opportunity to salvage a profitable business relationship.
To make the most of mediation, it is a good idea to prepare in advance. This includes clearly identifying the issues as well as the physical preparation of documents.
Identifying interests and expectations
Mediation is a process of negotiation, meaning that both sides will need to compromise to some extent and you probably won’t be able to have everything you might want. Success is more likely if you identify beforehand what is of most importance.
A SWOT analysis is a good way to break down the facts of a dispute. Looking at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in conjunction with a clear idea of the minimum that you want to achieve allows you to approach the mediation with focus.
Identify any points that are important to you and look for areas where you are more prepared to compromise. The strengths and weaknesses in your case will give some indication of the best areas for negotiation.
Similarly, looking for potential threats to the long-term wellbeing of your business will also help you focus on what is of most importance to you in the mediation process.
Making an offer
Carrying out a SWOT analysis requires you to identify opportunities. This is where mediation is particularly beneficial. Litigation imposes a legally binding order that can be entirely unsatisfactory, but mediation helps the parties involved find a solution that is acceptable to all.
During the preparation for mediation, there is the opportunity to make an offer for settlement. It is accepted that the party who makes the first offer in a negotiation often tends to be happier with the final outcome, so it is worth being the one to make the first move. Bear in mind that it is rarely a good idea to make a fixed offer early on; success usually involves negotiating and adjusting your requirements.
Preparing to communicate
Clear communication is essential in any successful mediation. If each party can see the other’s point of view and understand the effect on their business of the problems that have arisen, it will help them to be more flexible in their approach.
Be prepared to speak directly to the other parties during the mediation, to explain not only your position but any difficulties which have arisen because of the disagreement. Set out in advance the points you would like to make, keeping them as concise as you can and avoiding inflammatory statements.
Mediation also offers the opportunity to salvage a business relationship and find a way to work together in the future for the benefit of both parties. If you think this could be a possibility, then make sure this is communicated to the other side.
Going into a mediation fully prepared will give you the best chance of a successful outcome. Approaching the other side calmly and presenting the facts of the situation as they apply to you will help them understand your point of view.
Your mediator will work with you to find a solution that is acceptable to both you and any other parties. By preparing carefully you will know ahead of time where your main problems are and what you are prepared to agree to. Being organised and in control will help you approach the process calmly and openly, rather than feeling rushed or out of the loop. This is hugely beneficial in reaching the right settlement.
At Lux Mediation, we offer a range of different Dispute Resolution Services, designed to deal with all types and stages of disputes. We are experienced in and understand the subtleties of online mediation. Our mediators have extensive credentials and experience in areas including maritime, international, EU and general commercial and civil law.
If you would like to explore further whether online dispute resolution can help you to resolve a dispute or you have any questions about the process, please call Lux-Mediation on +44 (0)7876 232305 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.