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20 Essential Tips for a Successful Mediation



Mediation, a form of alternative dispute resolution, offers parties the opportunity to resolve their disputes without the need for litigation.

In Texas, as with other jurisdictions, understanding the nuances and guidelines for successful mediation can be the key to achieving a favorable outcome for all involved. Below are 20 essential tips for an effective mediation.

  1. Be Prepared: As with any legal process, being well-prepared gives you a solid foundation. Know the facts, the applicable law, and the positions of both parties.
  2. Know your strengths. Really know your weaknesses: It’s imperative to have a clear grasp of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. This self-awareness helps shape realistic expectations.
  3. Try Hard to Remain Objective: Emotions can cloud judgment. Strive for clarity and see things from a neutral standpoint.
  4. No Name-Calling or Disparaging Remarks: Mediation is about resolution, not confrontation. Maintain a professional demeanor at all times.
  5. Consider Both Sides: Remember that there are two sides to every story. Approach the process with empathy and understanding.
  6. Identify Essential Needs: Recognize the core needs and desires of both sides. Prioritize what truly matters.
  7. Open-Mindedness is Key: Approach the process with a willingness to explore alternative solutions and perspectives.
  8. Listen Actively: Strive to truly hear and understand the other party’s position, concerns, and needs.
  9. Be Open to Creative Solutions: Mediation allows for flexible and innovative solutions, often not possible in court.
  10. Prioritize Livability Over Winning: It’s not about ‘winning’, but reaching a solution both parties can live with.
  11. Seek Win/Win Outcomes: Successful mediation results in a resolution that benefits both parties.
  12. Trust Your Mediator: Often, mediators have insights or perspectives that the parties haven’t considered. Listen to their guidance.
  13. Stay Flexible: The dynamics can change during mediation. Being adaptable can lead to better outcomes.
  14. Appreciate the Value of Finality: Resolving disputes allows you to move on with your life. This can be a significant emotional and practical benefit.
  15. Compromise Can Be Preferable: Sometimes, a compromise, even if not perfect, is better than the uncertainty and risk that comes with a lawsuit.
  16. Choose Your Fate: Mediation offers parties control over their resolution, as opposed to leaving it in the hands of  6/12 strangers in a jury.
  17. Maintain Open-Mindedness, Even Under Stress: When challenges arise, revert back to a state of willingness and understanding.
  18. Avoid Repetition: Reiterating the same points indicates stagnation. If this happens, re-evaluate your position.
  19. Always Be Respectful: Civility can pave the way for collaboration. As the saying goes, “Bees are attracted to nectar, not vinegar.”
  20. Consider this: “The older I get, the more I value the resolution of disputes.”: As one matures, the significance of resolving disputes amicably and efficiently becomes more apparent.

While mediation in Texas, like in other jurisdictions, has its unique elements, the core principles of preparedness, open-mindedness, respect, and a focus on win-win outcomes remain central to its success. Adhering to these guidelines can significantly enhance the chances of reaching a beneficial resolution for all parties involved.

We at the Herd Dispute Resolution, PLLC, have been certified as a mediator for seven years, have attended numerous programs on mediation, and have acted as counsel in mediations for over 30 years.  We have mediated a broad range of civil disputes (everything except for family law.  

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