Ever get into a situation when two people can’t find a compromise? Time to play the middleman and find the common ground. Here are 4 tips to help you be an expert mediator.
“Just the facts, ma’am”
Do your research to understand both sides of the story. Focus on the facts and write down possible outcomes. What would be a win for both sides? What is the worst case scenario? If you prepare yourself and are familiar with the details; you can better foresee possible solutions.
Put yourself in their shoes.
Know the people that need to negotiate. What are they interested in and what’s the best way to reach them? Understand how the people think and not how they feel. What do they really want? What are they willing to give and what can they take?
Take your time and listen.
Let both sides voice their concerns. Really listen to what is said and ask open ended questions to get to the bottom of the dilemma. By just listening, you can often diffuse the situation, lowering emotional tensions.
Show the person that they can talk to you. Be open, friendly, and honest. A smile will help ease the pressure and let the coworker feel they can relax and converse with you. Be respectful – remember this issue is a “big deal” to the other person, so don’t belittle it.
When you understand both sides, you can try to find a compromise where all the parties have needs that are met. Take your time and listen – looking for the win-win in the situation. By lowering the emotional charge and keeping calm you are sure to be a successful mediator.
Have you ever been in a situation that you’ve had to act as mediator in the office? Please share your tips on being a good middleman.