The 5 Steps of Mediation

Opening Statements
Provides opportunity to speak openly and directly to the other party.

Joint Discussions
A joint session may be used to exchange information, share personal perspective, or identify potential risk directly, rather than as translated or presented by the mediator. A joint session may also be used to deliver an effective apology or acknowledgement concerning personal responsibility; to deliver a complicated offer or counteroffer coupled with an explanation; or, to engage in confidence building discussions to begin repair of a prior constructive relationship.

Private Discussions
After the discussion, the mediator will privately meet with each party individually. During this stage, the mediator will talk with the parties about their position and whether it is a strong one. They will also exchange offers from one party to the other. The mediator can go back and forth between each party as often as necessary within the allotted time.

In most cases, the mediator doesn’t bring the parties back together until a settlement has been agreed upon or the allotted time for the mediation has ended. Sometimes, however, the mediator will bring the parties together for negotiation after the private caucuses.

If the parties agree on a settlement, the mediator will typically write it, and each side will sign the agreement summary. This way, each party is obliged to abide by the settlement.

*If an agreement is not reached, decisions on how to proceed will be made.