Despite the Coronavirus crisis family mediation remains ready and available to help separating families find a way forward in these uncertain times.
Mediation with a trained, professional mediator doesn’t have to take place in person with everyone physically present in a room together, in many cases family mediation can happen online via video conferencing.
There’s no doubt communicating with people online is different than when you all meet in person. But different doesn’t mean it’s not as effective.
You may however feel apprehensive about online mediation, particularly if you are not used to video conferencing. Don’t let that put you off. A mediator will be able to talk you through how it will work and help put you at ease.
If you are unsure or in need of guidance here are some of my top tips for online mediation:
- Firstly the technical bit, ensure your broadband speed or mobile speed is fast enough. You can check this at https://www.speedtest.net. You will need a reliable internet connection of at least 2 Megabits per second. 4G mobile networks should also be fine if there is a good connection, although video calls use up a lot of data so check your data plan. Download in advance the video conferencing software you will need. The mediator will provide you with details of this and the login information that you will need to access the secure mediation session.
- Have a think about where might be best to set yourself up for the mediation session. Ensure that your space is well lit but try to avoid sitting with any strong light source behind you. Try and have the camera at eye height and set up the device you are using in a way that means that you do not need to hold it during the mediation session. Check that you have enabled video and audio so that you can be seen and heard during the mediation session. Have some water, and if you think you might need them some tissues, to hand.
- The online meetings are confidential. You must not record any of the meetings. Ensure that where you are based for the online mediation is private and that you cannot be overheard by anyone. Limit any distractions so you can fully focus on the mediation session. Turn your mobile, tablets and landline phone to silent mode. Switch off sound alerts on your computer. Disable any alerts announcements or notifications of texts, emails, tweets or other social media activity. Try to avoid interruptions from anyone else during mediation such as from pets or deliveries.
- During the mediation session listen closely and avoid talking over anyone. Preface what you say with the name of the person you are directing your question or statement to.
- Be clear on what the contingency plan is should there be any technical problems during the mediation session.