Mediation is all about the parties to a dispute working together with the help of a neutral mediator to find an acceptable solution to the matters in dispute. If the mediation is to succeed there are a number of rules which should be born in mind.

1. Mediation is not a fight between you and the other party to your dispute. Do not go into the mediation looking for a punch up. The goal is to find a resolution to the issues between you both. You are there to strike a deal and not to win a battle and strike your opponent down.

2. Participate fully. Become fully involved in what is going on. Do not leave it to the mediator. He or she may lead the way but the mediation is for your benefit and you should be involved in all stages of the procedure and ask questions and give your opinion throughout.

3. Have any documents and proof to support your position with you at the mediation.

4. Treat your opponent with respect and courtesy. Don’t insult them. It is not necessary to try and get on friendly terms with your opponent but you are less likely to reach an acceptable agreement if you display disrespect for their views and mindless rudeness towards them.

5. Point out the merits of your position at the right time and in the right tone. Make the benefits to both of you clear.

6. Determine what are your opponent’s main interests. Once you know what these are you can compare them with your own and look for a solution which satisfies both. The mediation is all about reconciling interests.

7. Put forward your offer to settle. Even if not accepted this can bring out a counter offer and you can then work on narrowing the gap between the offers.

8. Get into brainstorming. Be creative and think of every possible solution to the dispute. Rule nothing out and do not criticise your opponent’s ideas.

9. Don’t give up and don’t get angry. If it is shown that you may not be completely right in what you are saying don’t get angry and frustrated. Keep cool and remember that mediation is not about showing who is right or wrong but about finding a solution which satisfies both parties interests.

10. Be patient. Mediations take time as it can be a gradual process for people to change their mind about unrealistic expectations. Persevere and do not give up in frustration even where an agreement seems impossible.