Be effective in joint meetings

Gary WebberMediation

An early joint session does not need to involve posturing. Rather, it can be a great opportunity for the parties jointly to set an agenda, especially where there are a number of issues.

A great opening statement in an early joint session consists of four things:

(1) An explanation of the impact on you of what has occurred, given in a non-adversarial way and without attributing blame;

(2) An acknowledgment of what you believe to be the other side’s objectives / interests / concerns, given tentatively and with curiosity – “It sounds like what you need / are saying / are concerned about is …”;

(3) A clear statement of your own objectives so as to anchor them at the beginning of the day. As the day goes on you can, as necessary, come back to your initial statement: “As you will recall in the opening I said that the main thing we need is …”; and

(4) If appropriate, and it is nearly always appropriate, a genuine apology for steps in the conflict you have taken that have not helped the situation.