Reflecting back over a mediation I had last week where participants appeared over the phone, I realized how relaxed both the parties and myself seemed during the process. Words like safety and comfort came to me most immediately. Familiar surroundings such as one’s home or office subsides fear of an unfamiliar place to the participants and also allows them to create their own most comfortable environment. I wondered if or how these factors may play into building a fluent and constructive conversation.
I also found the environment aspect of the telephonic mediation a plus. My own familiar office, my desk, drinking a cup of coffee. Yet, other cues such as body language and facial expressions are except from the mediator tool box in a telephonic mediation. Voice tonality, speed of speech, and overall volume are certainly important clues for the mediator in this arrangement.
Overall, the case settled and the participants were happy with the outcome. Due to the differing locations we circulated signatures electronically. Accessibility to your computer with internet connection as well as fax and email is EXTREMELY helpful if you plan to do telephonic mediation. After all, it is nice to get the verbal agreement, but GREAT to get the signed stipulation.