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Mediation Process and Its Common Pitfalls

The mediation process is one of the most important tools with which it is possible to resolve many conflicts without the need to resort to legal structures. One of the main features of this process is informality, which, however, does not interfere with the settlement of disputes due to a third party, a mediator, who has specialized training to conduct such events (Murray, 2019). The mediation process is used when two parties need to clarify existing misunderstandings, come to a compromise and find a solution that suits everyone. In the discussion, which often follows a worked-out plan, both sides need to clarify their point of view. A mediator, using his position, must explain controversial points, asking clarifying points, revealing the truth and smoothing out acute situations. The mediation process must end with the work on the clauses of a general agreement that both parties must agree to.

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However, many pitfalls in this process can destabilize negotiations by suspending or sabotaging them. Difficult moments can arise at each stage of the talks. For example, the lack of preliminary preparation and explanation of the situation to the mediator can significantly complicate their work (“10 mistakes to avoid,” 2018). Likewise, an insufficiently precise position at the very beginning complicates the work. If one of the parties does not fully explain what caused the conflict, resolving it won’t be effortless. The second leading group of problems is emotions that the parties show, unable or unwilling to suppress them (“10 mistakes to avoid,” 2018). Any compromise must be developed through logical statements and inferences since emotions, in this case, will only interfere.

Unfortunately, most of the disputes are tied to some conflict, which significantly complicates the negotiation process due to emotional tension between the parties. This implies a reluctance to accept any conditions from the other side or even interact with an opponent, even through a mediator. Refusing to interact or work on a compromise due to emotion is also one of the most common pitfalls in the mediation process. Finally, the process can be sabotaged at the very end if one of the parties begins to put forward conditions in signing the final act or interpreting the indicated agreement following their desires. One way or another, in all these cases, the responsibility for correcting the situation largely rests with the mediator since the success of the process depends on this person.


Murray, J. (2019). How does the process of mediation work? The Balance Small Business. Web.

10 mistakes to avoid at mediation: Improving the odds for resolution. (2018). JD Supra. Web.

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