Good Mediators Do These Things

The most consistently effective mediators have shared these qualities: (1) They established and then maintained credibility throughout the entire negotiation. They provided a foundation for their statements and avoided exaggeration. When they said they would do something during the negotiation, they did it. (2) They spoke persuasively and calmly. They listened attentively and acknowledged valid points that did not threaten their case. They asked information-seeking questions as well as rhetorical ones. (3) They used time efficiently when working against a deadline. They initially tried to get deals as favorable as possible, but moved to more realistic demands and offers with enough time on the clock to do the harder endgame negotiating.

I think #3 is the hardest – the endgame negotiating. That is the real skill – it’s where everything gets synthesized. It’s such a dance for the mediator deciding whether to use different techniques together, alone or both such as reality testing, mediator suggestions, BATNA, risk analysis, decision analysis….

And a big part of that endgame negotiating includes not only the parties’ personalities but their lawyers’ personalities.

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