Some positive things have come out of COVID19. Mediators have learned that mediation can be conducted over videoconference and by telephone. Some mediators use mediator-assisted negotiation via email. The process might take a little longer, and you might not be able to see the mediator and/or the other party face-to-face, but it can work quite well.
So, don’t worry. If you live remotely then you can participate in mediation if you have access to a phone or the internet.
Some precautions need to be taken when participating in mediation via phone or videoconference.
- You must ensure that nobody else can overhear the conversation, even if it’s just your side of the discussion. Remember, mediation is confidential. This is really important so everyone feels safe.
- You may not electronically record any part of the mediation using any means. You may take your own notes. The mediator might ask you to sign an agreement that you will not record the conversation.
- The mediator will ensure that a backup plan is in place if technology fails and the internet goes down, your computer crashes, or your phone runs out of battery.
- If you’re using video conferencing you should dress appropriately, on the top and the bottom! There are plenty of examples of people standing up to leave the room and everyone on the call getting a good view of their underwear or pyjamas.
- Make sure that you know how to use the technology platform. If your mediator is using videoconferencing make sure that you have installed the appropriate software and can get into the session without a problem. If you’re unsure then ask the mediator to run a practice session with you beforehand.
- If you’re using video conferencing please don’t use filters or backgrounds that might be distracting to others. If your child was using your computer to videoconference with a friend and had the cat filter turned on, make sure you can turn it off before your mediation starts.