Online Mediation- digital conflict resolution
Von Andrea Hartmann-Piraudeau
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Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party helps two or more parties reach a mutually agreeable solution to a dispute. Traditionally, mediation has taken place in person, with the mediator and the parties in the same room. However, with the pandemic making in-person gatherings unsafe, many mediators have shifted their services online.
Online mediation involves the use of video conferencing software, such as Zoom or Skype, to conduct the mediation session remotely. While some people may be hesitant to try online mediation, it has become the new normal in the current climate. In fact, online mediation has many advantages over traditional in-person mediation.
Advantages of Online Mediation
One of the most significant advantages of online mediation is convenience. Because the mediation session takes place remotely, parties can participate from anywhere with an internet connection. This means that parties do not have to travel to a specific location, which can save time and money.
Another advantage of online mediation is flexibility. With online mediation, parties can schedule sessions at times that are convenient for everyone involved, regardless of their location. This can be especially helpful for parties who live in different parts of the country or even in different countries.
Online mediation is also more accessible than traditional in-person mediation. People with disabilities, mobility issues, or transportation challenges may find it easier to participate in online mediation. Additionally, online mediation can be more affordable than in-person mediation, as parties do not have to pay for travel expenses or for the mediator’s time to travel to a specific location.
Challenges and Solutions for Online Mediation
While online mediation has many advantages, there are also some challenges that must be addressed. One of the main challenges is the potential for technical difficulties. Poor internet connections or issues with the video conferencing software can disrupt the mediation session and make it difficult to communicate effectively.
Another challenge is the potential for distractions. Because the mediation session takes place remotely, parties may be tempted to multitask or to be distracted by their surroundings. This can make it difficult to focus on the mediation and to reach a mutually agreeable solution.
To address these challenges, it is important to establish ground rules for the mediation session. Parties should be encouraged to participate from a quiet, distraction-free location and to avoid multitasking during the session. Additionally, parties should be encouraged to test their internet connection and the video conferencing software prior to the mediation session to ensure that technical difficulties do not disrupt the session.
Good solutions through online mediation
Research and Findings about Online Mediation
Research has shown that online mediation can be just as effective as traditional in-person mediation. In fact, some studies have found that online mediation can be more effective in certain situations.
For example, a study conducted by the National Center for State Courts found that online mediation was more effective than traditional in-person mediation in cases involving domestic violence. The study found that online mediation allowed victims of domestic violence to participate in the mediation process without fear of physical harm.
Another study, conducted by the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution, found that online mediation can be more efficient than traditional in-person mediation. The study found that online mediation sessions were shorter than in-person sessions and resulted in a higher settlement rate.
How to find a professional online mediator
If you are interested in using online mediation services to resolve a dispute, it is important to find a professional online mediator who has the experience and expertise to help you reach a mutually agreeable solution. Here are some tips for finding a professional online mediator:
- Research Online Mediation Services: There are many online mediation services available, so it is important to do your research and find one that meets your needs. Look for services that have a good reputation, positive reviews, and a track record of success.
- Check Credentials: When choosing an online mediator, it is important to check their credentials. Look for a mediator who is certified by a recognized mediation organization or who has extensive experience in the field.
- Ask for Referrals: Ask friends, family members, or colleagues if they have used an online mediator and if they would recommend them. Referrals can be a great way to find a reputable online mediator.
- Interview Potential Mediators: Once you have identified potential online mediators, schedule an initial consultation to discuss your case and to learn more about the mediator’s experience and approach. This can help you determine if the mediator is a good fit for your needs.
- Consider Cost: Online mediation services can vary in cost, so it is important to consider your budget when choosing a mediator. Look for a mediator who offers transparent pricing and who can provide a clear estimate of the total cost of the mediation process.
In conclusion, online mediation has become the new normal in the current climate, offering many advantages over traditional in-person mediation. While there are some challenges that must be addressed, online mediation can be just as effective as traditional in-person mediation, if not more so. By following these tips, you can find a professional online mediator who can help you reach a mutually agreeable solution to your dispute.