The Opening Statement Put this in your own voice Skip lines Use we and not I for most statements—you’re a mediation team! Be prepared to go back and add or subtract stuff once I review it Have a finalized copy ready the day we start mediations _____________________ 1. Welcome. Welcome to ___________________________________ 2. Introduction. I am ______________________________ (first name only), a volunteer mediator, and this is______________________________________________________________________________________. You must be ____________ and ________________. How would you like to be addressed? 3. Validation. It takes a lot of character to come participate in a mediation process. Thanks for giving it a try. 4. Roles of mediators Our role as mediators is to facilitate the process so you can come to resolution. We are responsible for maintaining safety and encouraging communication. We are responsible for the process but not solutions; we will guide you but we are not a judge or jury. We don’t give advice. We don’t take sides. We strive for neutrality. As participants, we hope that you will communicate your needs and concerns openly. 5. The mediation process •First we ask that you speak only to us. We will try to understand your concerns. •Then if you both feel it’s appropriate, you will speak to one another. •When you have heard each other’s concerns, we may want to try problem-solving. If we work out an agreement it can be written or oral. We will help with the wording and the logistics. 6. Ground Rules To make this a smooth process, we have some ground rules we need agreement on. 1. Please speak only to the mediators for the first part of the mediation. Can you agree? 2. Please don’t interrupt anyone. There will be plenty of time for everyone to be heard. Please jot down anything you want to remember. Can you agree? 3. Treat everyone with respect. Can you agree? 4. As mediators, our neutrality is essential to our functioning. If we say or do anything that does not seem neutral to you, we need you to let us know so we can address the concern. Can you agree? 7. Confidentiality What is said in this mediation stays in this room. That way you can share knowing that nothing said can be used against you in court. You may not talk to anyone, not even a spouse, about what we discuss in here unless both parties agree that they can discuss aspects of the session as part of their final agreement. 8. Special meetings Sometimes the mediators feel it’s necessary to take breaks to confer with each other or to discuss matters separately with the parties. This is normal and nothing negative; we are letting you know now in case it becomes necessary today. 9. The process of mediation can be challenging and rewarding. Are you ready to give it a try? 10. Normally the person who first contacted the office to ask for a mediation goes first. Does that sound all right with you both?