Mediation is often about finding the middle. What what exactly is the middle? For example, take this picture of a stop light. There is no middle, at least not a bright line middle like most stop lights. Instead this image appears to have two middles of orange and yellow. What if I told you that is often how mediation works as well? Finding the middle in mediation is often not going to be a bright yellow light but rather a combination of orange and yellow lights like this picture.
I referenced Balance in my previous blog post. In that post I talked about getting a 50/50 divide whether in property or in children issues is not always equal. Here I will talk more about how we use give and take in mediation.
Sometimes we get parties that work together to create a solution. Other times we have one party who tries to dictate the outcome. In either case a good mediator can get the parties to listen to both sides and work towards finding the middle in mediation.
As a mediator I rarely start out with taking offers between the rooms because I want to learn about the parties and what is most important. Often times it starts out with one party at the red light and the other at the green light. Listening to them, though, I can pick up on the clues in the middle. I can usually get each of them to see the yellow and orange. Afterwards I work with the parties to find out which aspects are most important and which are not. As we go through that process we find that the middle really has a couple of sides and each party gets some of what they wanted. Lastly we work out the finer details and enter into an agreement saving time and money for all involved.