Welcome to our mediation session, and thank you for participating. Please let me introduce myself: I’m John LeMasney, a trained mediator with Mediation Solutions, and I’ve been asked here to facilitate your mediation session. Could you please, each in turn, say your name, your role in this dispute (in a few words), and then please say the phrase “I’m here to make this better.” Please respect others’ right to speak. I’ll start. I’m John, I’m the co-mediator for this session, and I’m here to make this better.
[participants introduce themselves]
Very good! The fact that you’re all here is a great first step towards making this better. Congratulations on your bravery, commitment, and your willingness to participate in this unique process.
Mediation is simply a facilitated discussion of your differences. It gives us an opportunity to improve the existing situation while staying out of court and other more formal structures. We believe that you can solve this yourselves, and obviously you do too, by your presence. In this room, we are neither judges nor arbiters. While we’re here we are also not consultants, advisors, or lawyers. We are here simply to provide a structure for your conversation. We will work to give you the best chance at understanding each other, listening to each other, and finding out the full reasons why you’re at odds. You can resolve this issue, using your own words, on your own terms, collaboratively, as a team.
Regarding what’s permissible here: Common courtesy and mutual respect are mandated in order for this to work. Only one person speaks at a time, preferably after they are addressed, without interruption; verbal, nonverbal, or physical interjections should be reserved until it is your turn to speak. Feel free to use these notepads in order to take notes to remind yourself of points you wish to address.
Now, please take a look at this confidentiality agreement, sign it, and return it. This is a way for us in this room to begin to feel safe about speaking freely. What occurs here should stay here, and you should know that all notes and other recordings, aside from our agreement itself, will be destroyed at the end of our mediation. The agreement will hold all that we wish to retain of our work here. We hope that you will be able to simply let go of any negative feelings about each other over time, and any record of our talks tonight might prolong that process.
If for any reason either you or we feel that a separate meeting is necessary for any reason, such as the need to address or unearth a confidential issue in depth, each of us can request such a meeting.
Now, let’s review and sign the agreement to mediate, and thanks again for your participation. We believe that your effort will be rewarded.
Does anyone have any questions before we begin?
Domenici, K., Domenici-Littlejohn, & Littlejohn, S. W. (2001). Mediation: Empowerment in Conflict Management, Second Edition (2nd ed., p. 198). Waveland Press.