Yesterday I discussed an article on mediation that appeared in USA Today, dismayed by its depiction of mediation as a free service provided by volunteers.
But that was not the only problem that caught my attention. The article also quoted a critic of mediation who mistakenly charges that mediation “is a ‘terrible idea’ because it presumes the victim must accept some kind of compromise.”
Here is yet one more misapprehension that the public has about mediation – that the best outcome it can produce is compromise- a split-the-baby result that leaves all parties equally dissatisfied. This tells me that we mediators need to keep at it, countering and correcting these misunderstandings.
Let’s keep on getting the word out there that in mediation, disputants don’t just divide the pie, they can expand it. Ask yourself, is your negotiating style leaving value on the table? If so, you just might want to ask a mediator for help.
Meanwhile, maybe we mediators need a new motto – something along the lines of “We don’t compromise when it comes to helping you negotiate.”