During times like this online mediation has been ideal. A platform such as Zoom was easy to facilitate such a process and a quick trial run with colleagues is never a bad shout. I had 2 parties on the video call with an observer so 4 in total. Zoom is easy to set up and I felt the control within the process was good as non-interrupted time was proper non interrupted time as the mute function was in place. People worry about body language as it’s so important in this process but with the speaker view during the individual meetings my full screen was used to analyse body language of the individual. During the joint meeting Gallery view let me focus on both parties with what was said and also how this as received by the other party. Downside of Zoom is that after 40 minutes the system kicks you out but this made a good natural break and was easy enough to log back in. Zero technology problems minus one freeze in the whole 3 hour joint meeting. Do individuals speak more freely as they are behind a screen I wonder? The nature of the mediation was that one person did appear more forthcoming than the other – but face to face I don’t think this would have been any different. A great other option to cut out travelling for remote areas or moving with the times for technology to support a process.
My top tips
- Have a trial run and get used to how all of the screen work as a seamless meeting is key and you want to spend the time building trust rather than trying to navigate through technology
- Have a comfy chair as I tended to move around quite a lot in the meeting despite trying to stay still which may have been a distraction for the parties
- Explain the process of online mediation to both parties via the telephone and take any questions as both parties may have never interacted this way before and be nervous about how it will work
- Use a PC or screen rather than a mobile phone as a small screen won’t do the trick
- Do what you normally do – forget you are behind a screen and trust the process