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After the mediator explains his or her role as a neutral facilitator, the confidentiality of the process and the ground rules for contract mediation in Houston Texas, each party is then given the opportunity to provide an opening statement. This statement demonstrates the different perspectives that each party has and the interdependence that the parties have on each other to successfully conclude contract mediation in Houston Texas. An effective opening statement sets the tone for negotiation.
The opening statement advocates for the client’s position and interests. It explains his or her point of view regarding the legal issues in the case. If the parties spend most of their time in private caucus, the opening statement can emphasize the client’s point of view and deliver a message that will resonate throughout mediation.
One effective way to deliver a message is to have empathy for the other side. When a party blames the other, is argumentative or otherwise seems unreasonable, the opening statement may only serve to further polarize the parties. However, if the party is able to express positive things about the other party and truly empathize with his or her plight, the opening statement is more likely to set a positive tone for mediation.
While litigation involves an adversarial process, mediation is supported by a cooperative spirit between the parties. An effective opening statement can discern a party’s inherent need to defend themselves and replace an adversarial feeling with mutual respect.