Sometimes lawyers and lay people alike mistake the negotiation room for a courtroom and take aggressive positions thinking the mediator is a judge or jury who needs preaching to. It is so important that the mediator change that environment. Often this has to do with the mediator filtering information and coming up with a creative way to have each side “present” themselves. Emotionally distraught parties cannot be hammered by legalese and those parties with law and facts still must be heard.
The mediator must control the room. By that I mean he or she needs to make sure, for example, that one party does not end up on the defensive when hearing the necessary emotions from the other party, or timing perfectly when certain information is going to come out, or even letting parties know what you think is the next best task on which to focus. By taking control of the room and understanding the “audience” the mediator then allows the free exchange or the information which will influence settlement talks and encourage the parties to come up with their own resolutions.