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THE INITIAL MEETING
The first contact between any of the parties to the mediation and the mediator is critical in establishing “mediator control”. Mediator control means the ability of the mediator to take charge of the situation and subconsciously, if not actually, gain the respect of the parties. This then allows the mediator, in later sessions, to guide the parties through the process and resolve their dispute. We have all experienced this instant “control” or “respect”—think of the last time a police constable asked you to pull over—instant control. In fact the Metropolitan Police use it as part of their training in dealing with the public—it is called “officer presence”and although it may appear a bit strange, the concept works well not only for Police Constables but for mediators as well. A typical “officer presence” explanation given to Police Constables is as follows:
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