Tips on How to Use Mediated Negotiation Effectively
Take advantage of the control which Separate Meetings give you over the use of information.
In every negotiation, there is information which is useful to putting an acceptable agreement together but too risky to discuss with other parties because it might be used by them to your disadvantage (e.g., underlying concerns, actual rather than apparent negotiating targets or priorities, etc.). In a Separate Meeting, however, any information you tell me not to disclose to other parties is kept confidential. The more useful information you are willing to candidly discuss with me, the more effective I can be in helping you reach an agreement that is acceptable to you. The less useful information you are willing to candidly discuss, the more like a conventional, deception-based negotiation the process will become. That is a waste of the powerful information processing and risk-reducing capabilities of the mediation format.
Come to the negotiation with a willingness to be flexible and an open mind.
Recognize that this is a dynamic process during which a large quantity of information will be processed - information generated by you, by other parties and by the mediator. You will have to make decisions along the way, and the quality of those decisions will be better if you make them based on what you know and feel at the time you are making them, rather than on a rigid "bottom line" position adopted before the negotiation begins. Each party is of course encouraged to discuss strategy and goals before the session, but a prior fixing of a bottom line with no possibility for reassessment during the negotiation fails to take advantage of all this process can offer.