My success has largely been due to the fact that I greet each mediation without expectation and I hold myself to the highest ethical standards, conducting myself with humility, integrity and humor. A non-threatening environment begins with a warm sincere smile. While I inform my clients that I am neutral, it is by working together that they learn to trust me. Perhaps more importantly, by collecting and sharing pertinent information, the parties learn to trust themselves as well as each other. It is precisely this trust that allows folks to move the process forward to find common solutions.
My work includes getting familiar with my clients, their needs, goals, fears, and hopes. I also learn about their issues and positions. I respect both sides of a story and help my clients to not only listen, but to speak up. I keep balance and level the playing field, remaining impartial while providing information and raising issues. Working together, mediation participants strategize and plan for the future. After all, it’s one thing to say,”I want a divorce!” and entirely another to figure out what’s next.
Respecting self-determination is one of the pillars of a successful mediation. Parties never are required to agree or reach agreement. Mediation is based upon voluntary participation, informed decision making and an unforced agreement of the parties. The process is confidential throughout. The parties use the mediation sessions to jointly consider proposed options and to uncover alternatives so all options are explored before final decisions are made. As Yogi Berra said, “It’s not over until it’s over” or as I like to say “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”