What is Group Mediation?
Group mediation involves a group of people who gather together to express their feelings and opinions about a common topic. The atmosphere provides a safe place where everyone can feel validated and heard. As a group, we will move forward by brainstorming ideas, forming solutions and establishing agreements.
Working with groups of people who work, live or are members of organizations together is the most complex of all negotiations. This is because although they share a common circle of interest, they also come with some knowledge, personal expectations and/or a personal agenda. People also come with an identity they usually want to stick with in addition to their array of backgrounds and experiences.
“Group mediation reminds me of a box of “Cracker Jacks”. Each piece of popcorn has a different size and shape, some have more sweetness than others, there’s a few tough nuts and some hard, unpopped popcorn kernels among the crowd. And all they really want as a group is the prize (agreement) hidden in the box!” – Laurel Young
How to Have a Successful Meeting:
We focus on the common interests and goals of the group by evaluating and comparing choices to the human values guidelines. This way, we determine the best action for all concerned. We will learn the skills to communicate effectively without anger, judgment and criticism.
Mediation Mentor Advantage:
Allowing a mediator to direct and keep a group moving forward positively instead of getting stuck in the “should, blame and shame” game will be conducive to creating solutions and allowing forward movement into collaborative change and decisions. A mediator can manage emotional outbursts and time restraints productively.
Benefits of Group Mediation:
Having a mediator teach and model active listening, behavior and communication skills will create an opportunity to establish good habits for future meetings. Less time will be needed to create a focus on mutually acceptable outcomes. Most importantly, respectful meetings foster understanding and maintain amicable relationships.
Real life situations: mediated with human values
- This meeting is going nowhere. Everyone has a different idea and everyone is just trying to get their way and be heard. Somehow we need to stop this merry-go-round and forget the past, stay focused on the outcome and get along. After all, we all have to live with this decision.
Action: I’ll suggest we go to the human values checklist to evaluate the list of ideas that have been suggested to decide what idea fits the best for all concerned. Then we can move into a discussion on the impact of each idea and agree on the best decision possible at this time.
- It is time to distribute money to local organizations. This year there are more non-profit organizations wanting and needing our help than ever before. How do we decide who gets our help?
Action: We could use the human values checklist to evaluate each organization as to how they serve the interests of the people they say they represent. It will become clear what questions to ask and which information to gather to make appropriate decisions.
- Here we go again. Finding a restaurant that has food that everyone can and wants to eat is almost impossible. I get angry every time I am put in this position. These are my friends and I want to spend time with them but really? (This is my personal story).
Action: So I went to self-mediation mode first, got control of my anger and took self-responsibility without blame for my part. Then I reminded everyone that we all have the right to get our wants and needs met. I told them I would pull up the human values list on my phone to have group therapy. I told them that if we can’t quit wasting time and energy on such ridiculous stuff and set some universal boundaries and decisions ahead of time I’m not going to be involved with them again where food is involved. They didn’t want my bantering and so it was easily resolved!
If you’d like to find out more about Group Mediation, contact The Mediation Mentor »