Business mediators are neutral individuals who facilitate a dispute resolution process between two or more business parties. The goal is to find a mutually satisfying outcome for all parties involved. Mediation is an alternative to litigation and has been shown to be a much quicker, less costly and more effective way of resolving a business dispute.
Business disputes can arise with employees, co-owners, suppliers or clients. A skilled and experienced business mediator can help the parties to come up with a solution that suits everyone. Many businesses choose to resolve a dispute through mediation rather than taking it through the courts as it can often save time, money and the strain on relationships that can sometimes occur in a legal dispute.
A typical business dispute involves a disagreement over a contractual arrangement between one party and another. This could be a sales agreement between a supplier and customer, or it could be an employment contract between an employer and employee. A professional business mediator will have a deep understanding of how the specific industry works and the types of disputes that are typically encountered within it. The mediator will also understand the commercial impact of the dispute on the parties and how they may wish to resolve it.
The business mediator will spend time with each of the parties and discuss their issues in detail. This may involve exploring the facts of the case, discussing options for resolution and identifying key stakeholders who may need to be involved in the settlement process. In addition, the business mediator will assist the parties in preparing for negotiations by explaining how the mediation process works and discussing negotiating strategies. The mediator will also guide the parties through direct negotiation sessions where they will communicate their positions and try to find common ground.
During the mediation process, a good business mediator will work hard to overcome any psychological or relationship barriers that may be hampering the settlement process. This might include dealing with strong emotions, acknowledging that there is some truth in the other party’s position or repairing and rebuilding working relationships.
As a result of the work they do in facilitating the resolution of a dispute, business mediators often build a reputation as trusted neutrals who are capable of reaching fair and creative solutions. It is not uncommon for both sides to walk away from the mediation process feeling satisfied with the outcome as it is usually more comprehensive and tailored to their specific situation than a ruling by a court judge would be. Unlike a trial in court where the proceedings are public, the process of mediation takes place in a private room and the final result can remain confidential if both parties agree to it. This gives both parties a greater sense of control over the outcome of their dispute.