We were doing feedback after a role play recently and the question of proposals and agreements came up.
When you are learning mediation your mentors will tell you not to rush to agreement.
One of the really common problems is the mediator trying to rush the parties towards an agreement before they fully understand and have the opportunity to consider what is being proposed. It is counter productive and doesn’t work.
Don’t think that the first time you see the parties coming up with options and making proposals that they have an agreement and definitely don’t try to lock them into them!
What’s your proposal?
You could think of proposals in Mediation as being reverse-marriage proposals.
When someone proposes marriage they usually get an immediate reaction without any questions about exactly what they expect the marriage to be like.
If the proposal is accepted then they start working out the when, what will the wedding be like, where will they live and some of the detail of their life together. All without knowing what is being proposed in any detail before they say yes.
If they say no they are rejecting the proposal based on an emotional response without much information about what life together the other person is proposing.
Exploring the proposal before you say yes or no.
If they used mediation to negotiate getting married the mediator would help them to explore the proposal before saying yes or no.
We’d probably have less work as FDR Practitioners if that became common practice.