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Framing the Online Mediation Dialogue

How an online mediator might frame a discussion between disputants during the early stages of negotiations.

September 6, 2001
Related Topics: Labor Relations
Through e-mail and Web strategies, anunlimited number of mediation participants can be involved in communicating,negotiating, and drafting resolutions, according to James C. Melamed, directorof The Mediation Center in Eugene, Oregon. Below are examples of how an onlinemediator might frame such a discussion between two - or more - disputants duringthe early stages of negotiations: 

  1. OnlineMediation: Getting Started

        Hello, party 1 and party 2:

        Thank you for using Online Mediation. Iam the mediator assigned to your case. My profile is available at

        I am currently reviewing the case andwill be composing some questions to begin the process. I will be sending thatmessage to everyone involved within the next couple of days.

        If you have any questions about theprocess or would like to send me additional information, you may reply to thismessage. Remember “Reply” will send the message to me alone. “Reply All”will send the information to me and the other party.

    Again, thank you for participating. Iwill be back to you soon.

     -Your online mediator 

  2. Timeto Get Started

        Hello. This is your friendly onlinemediator again.

        Unless I hear otherwise, I will assumethat you are satisfied with my selection as your mediator. I will do my best toassist you.

        I want to confirm that you understandthe voluntary nature of this process and also that you have completedecision-making power. I also want to confirm that our discussions areconfidential. No communication will be held against anyone in any possiblefuture contested action.

        Please let me know of any questionsthat you have as we begin our discussions.

        Perhaps the best place to begin is toask each of you to summarize:

    • Theissues that you believe need resolution
    • Yourinterests (what you would like taken care of)
    • Theoptions (different ways we could solve the issues)

        Thanks for working with me to resolvethis matter. I will be back in touch as soon as I have heard from each of you. Iencourage you to do a “Reply All” on this message so that we can share thisinformation. If you want to communicate with me individually, that would be a“Reply” message (or separate message).

     -Your online mediator 

  3. PerhapsSome Discussion Between You Would Be Helpful
  4.     Greetings,

        I want to confirm for each of you thatI have read your response on the online mediator’s intake form and yourrespective descriptions of the situation. I am thinking, to the extent that youdesire, that it might be good for each of you to more fully share with oneanother (not just me) your concerns and your suggestions for improving thesituation. Also, do you have any questions for one another?

     -Your online mediator 

Workforce,January 2001, Vol 80, No 1, p. 52  SubscribeNow!

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