In the past, a court proceeding was one of the only options, if not the only one, for divorce. These days, divorce mediation is a popular option because it offers a personal and less stressful experiance to an already tense situation. Mediation can also take less time than divorce court proceedings and involves far fewer people and documents.
Mediation does require a certain amount of knowledge and finesse. If you have never been to mediation or negotiated with someone else for what you want, you may feel overwhelmed at the prospect. Your divorce mediator is there to help you, but knowing negotiation tips will increase your confidence, clarity and calmness at the table as well. At Waggoner Hastings, we have a few favorite negotiation tips that may help as your mediation date approaches.
- Ask for What You Want
In a divorce mediation, you have the power to explain exactly what went wrong, how you want to fix it and how you are willing to compromise, in your own time and on your terms.
Ask, but do not feel like you have to demand. Remember, mediation is about finding a solution that pleases everyone. No one is accusing anyone else. Evidence, documents and burden of proof are not part of the picture. If you do not get what you want, the mediation environment gives you the freedom to discuss the outcome and pursue other options.
- Listen More Than You Talk
It has been said we were given two ears and one mouth for a reason. Some negotiation experts recommend listening twice as much as you talk or listening 70% of the time while talking the other 30%. One of the most effective negotiation tips for mediation is to tune in to what the other person is saying. Pay attention not only to what is being said, but how it is said. What is the other person’s body language? Is he or she leaning forward, showing engagement? Did he or she cross arms or legs after your last statement? Paying attention to cues like these can tell you if the other person is open or closed to what you think and feel.
When listening, do not plan what to say next. Ask open-ended questions that cannot be answered “yes” or “no.” This encourages the other person to talk and helps you both feel like you have an equal playing field.
Mediation sessions are much easier when everyone does his or her homework. This does not mean gathering evidence against someone. Rather, it means asking yourself questions about the other person and why he or she might have done or said something. What pressures is this person under? Do they have more or fewer options than you, and is that why they might come across negatively?
- Investigate Divorce Mediation Further
If you are unsure whether divorce mediation is the right option for you, or you need more effective negotiation tips for mediation, contact Waggoner Hastings. Our divorce attorneys are well-versed in mediation and negotiation techniques, and are equipped to help you through this difficult time.