Monthly Archives: October 2016

Deal Breakers to Construction Mediation in Houston TX

Parties who agree to construction mediation in Houston TX often do so because they realize the vast benefits of this alternative to litigation.  If conducted properly, construction mediation in Houston TX can result in a faster, less stressful, and more affordable option than pursuing litigation.  However, some barriers, if not dealt with properly, can cause mediation to fail.

Systemic Distrust

If the parties do not trust the process of mediation or the other party, this can be an enormous challenge.  A mediator can help explain that mediation can help avoid the larger system of litigation and the judicial system.  He or she can also help the parties see what they have in common and help build up trust throughout the process.

Failing to Communicate

Mediation relies heavily on the ability of the parties to communicate.  They must be able to express their underlying interests to the mediator so that he or she can help the parties negotiate possible resolutions of their case.  Additionally, the parties may need to communicate with each other to make an eventual agreement.

Wrong Perceptions

When the parties have the wrong perceptions about the other party, this may create a barrier to resolution.  If they do not believe that the other party is acting in good faith, there will be less incentive for them to do so.

Not Demonstrating Respect

It can be difficult for parties to go from adversaries in a litigated case to cooperative partners.  However, a mediator can establish ground rules that require the mutual display of respect.

Five Stages to Contract Mediation in Houston TX

While every contract mediation in Houston TX is unique in its own right, the following five stages occur in most sessions of contract mediation in Houston TX:

Ground Rules

The mediator lays out the ground rules for the mediation process at the beginning of the meeting.  These rules often include showing respect to one another and not interrupting each other.  The mediator also explains his or her role as a neutral facilitator and the confidential nature of the process.

Understanding the Conflict

The mediator meets with the parties one-on-one or together to try to understand the nature of the conflict and the underlying reasons for why it occurred, such as one party believing the other has not fulfilled the terms of the contract.

Narrowing the Issues

The mediator then determines what the parties agree on and what they do not.  The mediator may summarize the main points of agreement and contention to ensure that he or she is on the right track.

Considering Options

The mediator will then flesh out possible options on how different issues can be resolved.  The parties may be encouraged to brainstorm ideas and be instructed not to dismiss anything right away.  The mediator may give the parties evaluation criteria to weigh whether particular options will likely serve their individual and mutual interests.


The mediator has the attorneys for the parties draw up the agreement that the parties have made and has all parties sign it.

Avoiding Communication Barriers in Trade Secrets Mediation in Houston TX

Trade secrets mediation in Houston TX is often complex cases that may be emotionally triggered, too.  When a business owner invests in a business, he or she often puts everything into it.  If he or she believes that information is being misappropriated, the result may be extreme.  Trade secrets mediation in Houston TX can help the parties resolve their case in an amicable manner.  However, in order to accomplish this goal, the parties must be able to communicate effectively.

Communication barriers disrupt the dialogue between the parties and may even escalate conflict.  When a barrier exists between the parties, a party may feel defensive and may react negatively to what the other party says.  Some examples of communication barriers include:

  • You statements – these are blaming statements that say that you are the cause of the problem
  • Judging statements – these statements are often based on incorrect and negative assumptions
  • Self-serving biases – By viewing the facts related to the case only from one party’s own perspective, that party feels victimized and has no trust in the other party
  • Attribution error – This occurs when one party attributes some type of negative characteristic to the other party that is not accurate
  • Poor interpersonal communication – Communication of this nature may cause face-losing interactions that create a barrier to communication

Mediators know about these common communication barriers and will use various methods to help break them down.  This increases the likelihood that the parties will be able to work out a mutually beneficial outcome to their case.  At the beginning of mediation, the mediator establishes ground rules regarding the proper conduct of the parties.  Additionally, if he or she believes that the parties will not communicate well together during any stage of the mediation, he or she employs the use of private caucuses in which the mediator meets one-on-one with each party separate from the other party. The mediator can often discern the message of the party but relay it in a more approachable way to the other party.  The mediator also helps clear up misunderstandings that may be standing in the way of an agreement.

Using Active Listening in Personal Injury Mediation in Houston TX

A professional mediator utilizes a number of important skills to effectively advocate for settlement by the parties during personal injury mediation in Houston TX.  One of these skills is actively listening.  By engaging in active listening, a mediator can help communicate with the parties better throughout the process of personal injury mediation in Houston TX.

Research indicates that many people ignore anywhere between 70 and 90 percent of what someone says to them.  Instead of listening, many people simply formulate a response to what the other person is saying rather than really focusing on what that party is saying.  However, if a mediator follows this general trend, a lot of relevant, important information will be lost.  Mediators know how important it is to actively listen, especially in cases involving personal injuries.  A mediator provides undivided attention to the person who is speaking in order to gather all of the necessary information that is being conveyed.

An effective strategy to actively listen is to rephrase what the speaker said in one’s own words.  The speaker then communicates whether this interpretation was correct or not.  If the mediator is correct, the speaker feels affirmed.  If the mediator’s summary is incorrect, the speaker can correct any misunderstandings.  This method helps clarify important facts and issues.

Active listening helps ensure that the person listening understands what is being said.  It helps build trust and rapport between the mediator and the speaker.  After the speaker sees the mediator performing this ritual, he or she may begin to copy it when communicating with the other party, leading to clarity and better understanding.