In this next blog in our series looking at what happens in mediation, we are talking about summarising. Often when a party has expressed a view the mediator will summarise what they have said. The purpose of this repetition is two fold. Firstly, it enables the mediator to check that they have understood correctly what has been expressed. Secondly, it enables the other party to have another opportunity to hear what has been said. Often when people are under pressure, or upset, they do not properly hear what has been said. By repeating what has been said it can help the other party to hear what has just been said.
In addition to repeating what has been said the mediator will also make notes on the flip chart so that both parties can see them. This again helps to reinforce key messages that each party is expressing. It can also help the parties to focus on what they have talked about. This can help to reassure them that progress is being made. It can also help them to focus on what is important rather than getting bogged down in peripheral points, or historic conflict.
If the parties feel that they are not making progress then it can also help for the mediator to summarise the discussions so far. This can help to show the parties that progress is being made, either because the parties have found they both feel the same about a particular issue, or because they have identified further information that will help them to move forward in discussing a particular issue.
We hope that these blogs help you to understand what is involved in mediation. As always if you have specific questions about the process then please get in touch so that we can have a chat and explain more.