In effect, mediation is the medicine for ailing negotiation – inherently any situation that can be negotiated can be mediated. But perhaps the real power of mediation skills come when they are used as prevention and not just cure for any potential discord or disagreement whether this be in the office, in the home or on the street. 

Mediation focuses on shifting emphasis from blame and rights based arguments towards current needs and interest based problem solving. This requires a forward looking strategy rather than raking over old disputed territory. Take a typical dispute scenario:

You enter into a deal. A dispute arises, you try to negotiate, lawyers are called in to negotiate but the dispute spirals into entrenchment and lawsuits. Even if you do manage to settle at the ninth hour as many litigious cases do you will almost certainly not have a future relationship with the other side in the future, you may well have lost business, it will certainly have cost a great deal in time energy and perhaps even personal kudos within your own organisation or team.

So many times when being referred disputes for mediation, CEDR hears these words from either one, or quite often both, of the parties: "It should never have got to this point"....

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By CEDR

The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) is an independent, non-profit organisation with a mission to cut the cost of conflict and create choice and capability in dispute prevention and resolution. www.cedr.com