With the advantages of mediation and other ADR processes, I often wonder why it is not more popular. I think it would be fair to say that most people know about mediation through tabloids and movies. When I explain to people what I am studying, I am often asked if its like the beginning of the movie Wedding Crashers
. In fact, just this week I had three friends say they thought of me after watching a parenting plan mediation take place on MTV's Teen Mom.
When you search for mediation on any news site, many of results come from two places, extremely difficult situations that don't seem to end like conflict in the middle east, or celebrities fighting. So how can we bring this to the commoner? Certainly it doesn't hurt to have mediations on the television, especially if it brings successful results. Perhaps one of the advantages of mediation, keeping the event and results private, is also its disadvantage. Even when the results are positive, there is a good chance that the benefits will not be seen by outsiders. Because of that, we cannot depend on word of mouth to advance of popularity of mediation. So here are some of my thoughts on how to improve this problem.
1.) Get an expert on TV, while it seems crazy, getting a mediator on Oprah would be a great start.
-Solving problems is already an intriguing source of entertainment. I don't mean to make light of situations handled by mediation, but a show or expert could raise the curtain on some of the mystery behind mediation. Everyone knows what it is like in court because of court shows. In the same way, people could also get to know mediation through television.
2.) On issues that do not involve private material, ask for permission to release results, or change the names and make case studies. In the best cases, have each party speak about the process and the results. Once again, I think removing some of the fear and mystique of mediation would help tremendously.
3.) One landmark agreement.
-While I cannot create this event, One thing that would help is a case that people can point that that was very successful that everyone knows about. Certainly there are possibilities, the middle east conflict, Afghanistan, solve the BCS dilemma in college football...
What are your thoughts? What else can be done to help mediation become mainstream?