Online Mediation – How It Feels the First (and Second) Time You Try It and In Which Cases It Can Be Very Useful – by Barbara McCulloch

Barbara McCulloch is a mediator experienced in and passionate about narrative mediation.

Not only she recently agreed to show us what it means to mediate a workplace discrimination case with that method. She also agreed to answer several questions from mediators curious about and interested in her method.

On October 27, 2013 she posted on our LinkedIn Group the following message about her  experience with online mediation:

As someone who only recently tried “online mediation” as a mediator, albeit as part of a training simulation, I can attest to the following:

1. Yes, it’s quite scary to mediate online and the technology provided by Giuseppe means that you are “in the same virtual room” as the parties and can conduct a mediation in a similar fashion as you might face to face. It was much easier the second time and I felt more comfortable with the medium.

2. In situations where parties live and/or work some distance from each other, online mediation could prove very useful because the normal barriers to mediation: costs, travel, inconvenience, time etc are reduced without increasing risk.

3. In situations where parties might wish to engage in mediation but not to be in the same room as each other, online mediation could prove very useful. (I once mediated between a man imprisoned for stalking his previous partner after their break up and at her instigation. He was in the same room as me but in hand cuffs and flanked by two prison guards; she was in another room with a support person and connected by telephone. the process was very successful but very expensive and online mediation could have been an alternative process in that situation.

If you are interested to join our Virtual Mediation Lab LinkedIn Group click here