In the mediation between Reymundo and Noah, the parties were reluctant to talk to each other at the outset. In a private meeting with each disputant, the mediator explored the feelings that were preventing the discussion from moving forward. After discovering that they only had one negative encounter immediately after Reymundo’s promotion, the mediator restarted the session with questions to draw out each individual’s feelings. In the case with Eli’s school, the mediator asked pointed questions to help the district explore its legal obligations in a caucus outside Jodi’s presence.

Require an Agenda before Negotiating, Negotiate as You Go, or Slide Back and Forth between Issue Identification and Negotiation

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Some mediators establish an agenda of specific issues that will be negotiated, usually after fairly lengthy information giving by the disputants and probing by the mediator. In these models, negotiation of issues is withheld until after the agenda is established, even if one or more of the parties make offers during opening remarks. Other models do not emphasize the establishment of a formal agenda and permit the mediator either to negotiate issues as they arise or to flow from issues identification to negotiation without an agenda. After the storytelling phase, the mediator deduced that two issues needed to be settled between Reymundo and Noah: (1) How could they communicate more effectively at work? and (2) What specifically could each party do to move their special project to completion? In Case 2.2, a very formal agenda was created because of the complexity of the concerns and the legal issues surrounding the case.