What do I bring to a mediation session?
Because mediation sessions generally take two hours or less, the following suggestions will help you to prepare most efficiently and effectively for the meeting.
- A willingness to listen
Parties cannot be listening if they are too busy planning what they are going to say next. You never know what you’re going to hear, so don’t assume you know what the other person will say!
- An open mind
Bring creative ideas to the mediation table, and be open to the ideas of others. Be ready to put the past in the past and to find ways to form effective solutions for long-lasting neighborhood peace. Think: anything is possible!
- A summary and chronology of events
For the sake of time, it is recommended that parties condense their thoughts and experiences on paper beforehand, so that they can be as direct and succinct as possible during the mediation session. A timeline of events is very useful.
- Other affected parties
Mediation agreements affect the lives of others in countless ways. For this reason, it is suggested that all parties impacted by the agreement be included in the mediation session. Note: ALL mediation participants need to be pre-screened before attending any scheduled meetings. No ‘surprise’ participants are permitted to attend meetings, for the sake of fairness to all involved.
- A positive attitude
You get out of mediation what you put into it. Coming to the mediation table with a hopeless attitude (“We’re never going to find a solution!”) will as easily produce a negative outcome as thinking “We’re going to try our best to make this situation better” will bring about positive results. Despite past feelings and experiences, your attitude is your choice and is under your control.
What should I leave at home?
- Your attorney
Lawyers are not permitted in mediation sessions. Interim agreements can be shown to counsel for approval prior to signing, if necessary. The goal of mediation is to empower parties to resolve their own conflicts together, rather than relying on litigators to advocate for one side or the other.
- Unrelated persons
Only those directly affected by the dispute, or those who are in positions to make decisions for a larger group, are invited to participate in the Community Mediation process. This rule is strictly enforced, so if there is someone you’d like to bring to mediation, make sure the mediation staff knows about it and has given approval prior to the mediation session.
- Excess baggage
Stick to issues directly related to the dispute at hand. If there are multiple issues to discuss, prioritize them so that each can be dealt with in a timely manner.
- Questionable motives to participate
If your desire is anything other than to amicably work out a solution to your neighborhood problem, such as compiling information for a pending lawsuit, please do not use the Community Mediation Program to uncover such information. Mediation sessions are considered confidential, and any information collected in session cannot be used in court.
Please do not bring inappropriate physical evidence to the mediation session.
Mediation is reserved for adults over age 18. Childcare is not provided by the City of Fort Collins and other arrangements will need to be made prior to parties arriving at a mediation session. Likewise, pets are not permitted in City buildings unless they are service animals. The City prefers parties not leave animals in closed automobiles, or chain dogs up outside the building for animal and human safety reasons.