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6 May 2024 Feedback

Topics covered: Step of the Process - Individual Interview - Use of Silence in Mediation

A successful Mediation Workshop fully booked with 12 particiants!

In the first part of the evening, we worked on a case inspired by a real situation, concerning a disagreement between two associations concerning the use of a shared workspace. Implicit in this were mutual accusations of attacks on personal integrity in the form of racism and sexism. This was a particularly complex situation that posed a major challenge to the two male and female mediators who took part in this exercise, and for whom I would like to thank warmly.

Following the role-play, feedback from mediators, mediation participants (the mediated or the parties) and observers highlighted the following important points about the mediation process:

  • INTRODUCTION: The importance of getting the mediation off to a good start by providing participants with an overview of the main steps in the process, allowing them to better prepare for the process.
  • STEPS in Mediation: The importance of following the steps in the process. In particular, the need to clearly delineate why participants chose mediation, what led them to mediation, and what their expectations were.
  • Use of the PAPER BOARD in mediation: When is it appropriate to start using it? At the beginning, in the middle or at the end of the session? In addition to its usefulness for the process, it was also mentioned that its use can have a beneficial and reassuring effect on participants, who thus see their concerns written down and therefore well taken into account by mediators.
  • COMMUNICATION between mediators in case of co-mediation. In particular, it was mentioned that an asymmetrical division of roles can work if it is well defined and validated between the parties before the start of the session.

The second part of the evening allowed for open exchanges on the sharing of experience between experienced mediators.

The following themes and ideas were discussed:

  • PRELIMINARY INTERVIEW: There were mixed opinions on the importance of conducting the latter, sometimes with opposing points of view. Some prefer to start from scratch in plenary, while others prefer to have an in-depth interview before bringing the parties together in the same room. However, everyone agreed on the importance of validating the participants' understanding of the mediation process beforehand, so that their expectations are as appropriate and relevant as possible.
  • To ensure fairness in the distribution of SPEAKING TIME among participants, it was suggested that in the event of a clear imbalance, a first step should be to express it simply and directly to the parties concerned and to ask them how they feel about it. The simple act of doing so can help to restore harmony within the session and ensure the sustainability of the process.
  • The importance of how to use the available SPACE in the room: Ideas were discussed, such as the possibility of reshaping the initial configuration during the session if necessary. Also and in cases where people are involved in the process but are physically absent, an interesting idea has been raised. It consists of inviting these people virtually by representing them in a fictitious way in the mediation space.
  • COMMUNICATION: How to encourage constructive communication between the parties during mediation. Ideas were discussed, such as letting SILENCE take its place when necessary or simply letting TIME do its work until the moment when the parties resume a direct dialogue under the benevolence of the mediator.

As you can see, it was a very enriching evening and I would like to thank all the participants for being present and for contributing to the renewed success of the Mediation Workshops. Our next two workshops will take place respectively at the end of June (organized by my colleague Dominique Renaud) and mid-September (organized by myself).

Stay tuned!

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