Mediation, in its purist sense, is a negotiation facilitated by a person that is trusted and neutral in judgement. Speed, cost, and the ability to have a bigger voice in the outcome are three big reasons why mediation is so effective and is the first path of dispute resolution.
Mediation, arbitration, and litigation all have their purpose and process which are “similar to” and “different from” each other. Biggest differences between the three processes are which agreements are binding and which are not. Mediation is a non- binding agreement, while arbitration and litigation are binding.
Three of the biggest misperceptions of mediation I have encountered as a mediator:
1) Some people think it will be a big task
2) Some people feel it will take too long
3) Some people believe it will not be easy
From my experience, it is just the opposite. Mediation, when facilitated between two individuals that are both willing and able to negotiate, create an agreement of small, easy, and expedited tasks.
Worst things in a mediation room are bad thoughts. Bad thoughts are a lot like computer viruses…they replicate and slow down the processor. Some people show up to mediation and they are willing and able, while others show up and they have their arms folded on their brain. I am neutral to who walks into the mediation room as to how they think and feel. When people tell me straight in the eye…”this is not my fault” I acknowledge and reply, “I know this is maybe not your fault…it is still your problem.”