Let parties talk about the future. Solutions are located in the future.
Guiding parties in the dialogue to achieve a fruitful discussion is an important role of mediators. Mediators try to stop parties from focusing too much on conflict but can aim to shift to turn/direct the parties to think about friendship objective or good experience that they had together from the past and what they want in the future. Below are a number of key methods to assist mediators in this stage:
Let both parties first tell how they perceived the matter. If people are forced to look into the future without being able to talk about the past, the issues will pop up again and again and will prevent problem-solving.
Re-framing Issues: In Mali facilitators phrase issues not in terms of ‘my rights’ and ‘your rights’ but in terms of harmonious marital life, as a joint problem. Also in Egypt facilitators build understanding in this way to work on the relationship.
A shared vision for the future: For Marital problems facilitators in Cambodia talk about a shared vision of a happy life to bring parties closer together. Parties are asked to reflect on their wishes for the future. Praxis in Azerbaijan helps parties to look back at the 'good times' in their relationship and draw attention to them. They also highlight common interests and their importance in their lives.
Explanation of reasons: Lawyers for Praxis in Azerbaijan are careful to explain the reasons for various sanctions. For example they explain that alimony payments are for the support of the children, not a payment to the mother.
Building trust by making apologies: When a party makes an apalogy facilitators worldwide know that a solution is possible.
Seperate the problem from the people and make the problem into a shared challenge. It can be good to sit on the same side on the table to express that it is a shared activity.
Promote apologies; For the offender to re-establish perceptions of his/her benevolent intent, the offender should quickly and voluntarily offer a thorough and sincere apology which conveys remorse for harm inflicted, an explanation of the details surrounding the betrayal, and a promise of future cooperation.
Lewicki, Roy J. and Edward C. Tomlinson. "Trust and Trust Building." Beyond Intractability. Eds. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, Boulder. Posted: December 2003 link here.
Tips to support parties to settle a dispute
Bargaining tactics in construction disputes, Martin Loosemore 1997
Add 'noise' to the conversation to make statements of parties less painful or direct.
Mediation, arbitration and negotiation, Maria Goltsman, Johannes Hörner, Gregory Pavlov, Francesco Squintani 2009
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