In the current climate, many are re-examining a myriad of things — among them, litigation. If you have a client interested in settling their case and need to schedule a mediation, you are in luck. Mediation is conducted easily and efficiently over videoconference. Remote mediation is easy to schedule since you don’t have to congregate in one place. It is also secure and confidential. When steps are followed in planning and executing virtual mediation, it is as efficient as in-person mediation, if not more so.
Scheduling Ease – No need to book a conference room. You do need to check with all participants to confirm availability, cross-check time zones and coordinate, but the hassle of choosing a room sized to accommodate everyone in a location that works for everyone is eliminated entirely. Everyone can participate from home!
Preparation Points – Everybody attending must have reliable internet. Additionally, every participant needs a webcam and microphone. (If you do not, purchase one and attach to a tabletop tripod.) The test run is an absolute must. This is your opportunity to verify the connection for all parties is stable and continuous and work out any technical issues before the scheduled mediation.
Details Matter – Consider other participants and ease of communication via virtual means. Make sure you are set up in a well-lit area, so others can see your face. For example, do not sit with an open window in the background, or any bright light in the background, as your face will not be visible. Ensure your face is well lit so that your facial expressions, which communicate so much and drive your points, can be seen. Wear non-distracting clothing. The focus should be on what you are saying and how you are saying it, not the interesting paisley pattern on your… is that a scarf, or a shawl, or a complicated sweater? Darker solid colors work best in this medium as they are not attention grabbing. Also make sure the area you have selected is quiet, so everyone can hear you.
Housekeeping Items – Confirm the mediator has all the information needed prior to the mediation so they go into the meeting fully up to speed. Make sure you have your proposed agreement ready to share if needed. This makes for a more efficient process overall.
Security and Confidentiality Assured – This is the big one. Make sure to use a platform with solid safety measures. Meeting encryption and password protection maintain confidentiality. A neutral party serving as host is ideal. Better yet, schedule a technician from your court reporting agency to set up the meeting, send out the links, monitor the connection throughout the proceeding, and serve as host. The technician will send the unique link and ID to each participant to join the private, password-protected meeting. Be sure to provide the full list of approved participants and only the approved participants. As participants “arrive” and enter their code, the host will place them in a waiting room. The host will create breakout rooms and assign parties to them. You can confer in private with your client and colleagues in your breakout room. Only assigned parties can access their respective breakout rooms, and the host will move the mediator from room to room.
With your list of participants and their email addresses, everyone’s equipment tested and set up in prime virtual meeting position, wardrobe selected, documents ready, and your trained technician to serve as host and trouble-shooter, you are situated for success. You can click on the meeting link and enter your password with confidence. If this is your first virtual mediation, it’s an opportunity to add a new skill to your repertoire and get you more familiar and comfortable with the technology.
Planet Depos has been covering remote proceedings for over a decade. Their trained technicians are experts in the technology and will keep your proceeding connected and private. Learn more about all remote proceedings, or simply schedule your proceeding online.