Preparing for a Business Mediation

Business mediation is way to resolve disputes outside of the courtroom. The process can save you money, time, and frustration, and result in a more favorable outcome for all involved.

In addition to having everyone voluntarily participating in mediation and finding an experienced mediator to oversee the process, another key to a successful mediation is being prepared.

What can you do to prepare for business mediation and improve the odds of resolving a dispute?

  • Plan to attend the mediation session in person whenever possible. Though there might be instances in which certain parties are forced to attend via video conferencing or another method that is not in person, the chances of success are always better when everyone is present.
  • Attend mediation with an open mind. Though it might be tempting to go into the session with a list of demands and a hope that you “win,” mediation tends to work out better when everyone is cooperative and willing to hear the other side. Remember, settling a dispute through mediation is voluntary, so you have nothing to lose by keeping an open mind.
  • Familiarize yourself with the details of the dispute. This tends to be easier when mediation is focused on personal issues, as opposed to business, but it is just as important. In advance, prepare a short statement that outlines the key issues as you see them and include a brief description of why these issues are important.
  • Consider the various outcomes and decide which ones are preferable for you. Mediation is about exploring alternatives and compromising to find solutions that are ideal, as opposed to accepting court-levied decisions.
  • Determine your bottom line and consider how much you are willing to compromise to avoid going beneath your bottom line. Remember, there are no winners and losers in mediation. Ideally, everyone walks away satisfied with the outcome, but this often requires sacrifice by both sides.
  • Be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. The mediator might address this during the mediation if things seem to be heading off-track or your attorney and you might review this information in advance. It is important to know what you would be risking by taking your issue into the courtroom and releasing control of the outcome and by knowing where your strength and weaknesses lie, you will have a reasonable expectation of mediation.
  • Make sure a decision-maker attends the mediation session. You or someone within your business needs to have the authority to commit to a resolution.
  • Bring all support documentation with you, in addition to information about anything you would like to discuss during the mediation. This can include everything from financial statements to contracts to electronic communications.
  • Finally, leave yourself plenty of time to arrive at the mediation session a few minutes early to get settled. Beginning the mediation sessions feeling rushed or flustered makes it difficult to focus and even more difficult to be open-minded. You want to take a positive approach to the session and be ready to resolve the problem if possible.

For more information or to discuss the benefits of mediation with a professional, contact Ann O’Malley at