Whenever a major dispute arises between two parties an informal, third-party mediator may be called upon in order to defuse the conflict. Often this mediator may be an impartial friend or authority, but usually the mediator is not trained or paid for their services. This is because a mediator is an impartial person that de-escalates the situation, allowing for a possible resolution to be reached, and while training may be helpful in mediation, few people know a professional mediator.
Collecting Information and Arranging a Meeting
Ask one party to explain their issues with the other. Offer affirmation that they are being heard, but do not take a side.
Repeat Step1 for the other party, again making sure not to take a side. Be sure to write down key points from each side in order to get a general idea of what each side stands for.
Arrange for the parties to meet together under your supervision.
Settling the Dispute
Explain each party's grievances to each other. Ask questions to verify that you are correctly representing each side's argument. It is important that you communicate exactly what each party believes, since they may not be on civil terms with each other.
Ask each party of the dispute what can be done to resolve the conflict.
Find out what each side is willing to concede and what conditions each side requires to reach an agreement.
Leave the rest of the negotiation to the parties themselves once they are on speaking terms. Assist when called upon, especially if the argument becomes heated.
- If anyone attempts to bring you into the situation or ask your opinion, deflect attention back to the issue at hand. A mediator is not always qualified to give advice in all situations.
- The role of a mediator is no easy task, however, in order to be a successful mediator, one must not have a vested interest in the results of the dispute, and also must avoid becoming an arbitrator, that is, one who forces a particular outcome on both parties. Using successful mediation techniques can resolve disagreements peacefully.
- Avoid overemphasizing one side of the argument more than the other.
- Be wary of aggressive parties and avoid being caught in any physical conflict that may emerge.