The mediator generally will support the parties in dispute as they speak for themselves, telling their own story in their own words. A representative can assist by providing his or her party with whatever information, advice, and moral support is needed for effective communication. This may include the items below:
- Encouraging the party to tell his/her own story in his/her own words.
- Asking questions that will help clarify a party's thoughts.
- Asking the other party or representative questions that will help to clarify the situation.
- "Checking in" with your party periodically during the mediation to indicate support, to ensure that she/he picked up on a point, to reassure him/her when the discussion gets emotional or heated.
- Encouraging your party to listen carefully to what the other party says and to summarize what you hear the other party saying. You may want to point out that this behavior will encourage the other party to listen as well.
- Rephrasing what the other party is saying in terms your party will better understand.
- Guiding your party toward reasonable goals if it appears she/he has unrealistic expectations.
- Encouraging your party to focus on addressing issues rather than on blaming or trying to punish the other party.
- Suggesting options for resolution that your party may not have considered.