Breathe, listen and take notes – control yourself and what you can control in the mediation.

It’s likely that you have never experienced being in a mediation before. It is likely to be a new environment and the location of the mediation might even be completely new.

And it’s also likely that you’ve not spoken to the other person or people involved for a while. Communication may have deteriorated. It is uncomfortable being in the same room as them. You’ll feel tense, uneasy and cold. You won’t know if you’ll want to shake hands, look them in the eye or even say hello but you will. Rely on your manners. Be polite. Trust that everyone, except for the mediator, will be feeling just like you.

Take your lead from the mediator. Take a seat in the meeting room when you’re invited to sit. Make yourself comfortable in your seat, find your pad and pen, and breathe. You’ve actually made the hard decision to come to the mediation, now is the time and the chance to move past your legal problem.

The mediator will speak first and explain how the meeting will proceed and the ground rules for the meeting. It’s the job of the mediator to provide a safe environment and the mediator levels the playing field. Just listen and settle into your space in the room. When another person speaks or is invited to speak just listen. Write notes. Breathe, listen and make a note on your pad. You will get your turn to speak and be heard. You will not be ignored. You’ll get roughly the same time to have your say.

When it is your turn, everyone else will be listening to you and making notes on their pads. Mediation is voluntary. You’ve agreed to commit to the process. You’re in control of yourself. This means that you’re also in control of the options generated and your decisions. Realising that this is a crucial step forward in getting disputes resolved, you owe it to yourself to remain calm, to breathe, to stay in control, and to resolve.

While you may feel a little overwhelmed while in your mediation, just remember, there are always things you can control.  Focus on those.