This is a commonly asked question about mediators. Simply put, mediators “create a safe environment” for a conversation between parties in conflict. They oversee, manage and ‘own’ the process of your meeting. They guide the conversation by directing who can speak, when, to whom, and about what. If tempers are heated, a mediator will utilize a lot of control. If there is a positive flow of useful discussion, the mediator may sit in silence just listening, Mediators use a range of skills to help people to talk openly about what they have experienced, what they want, and what they feel. If you get angry or upset, or find things difficult to say, they will help you manage those feelings and express your thoughts. In unmediated meetings, the focus of a discussion is often more about what you want to say than about listening to the other person. The mediator will slow conversations down so that your point gets expressed in a way so that the other person can hear what is important to you and you can hear what is important to the other person. The mediator sets the stage for you get something out of the conversation in a way that is respectful and meaningful rather than just an uncontrolled arena of blaming and accusing. They also will do an occasional ‘reality check’ to make sure that anything you might agree to is going to last and be really workable in practice.
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