THE STRUCTURE OF A SUCCESSFUL MEDIATION

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I’m going to give you the structure of a very effective mediation, so you can structure all your mediations and be sure that you’re going to do a great job. 

First of all you’re going to divide your mediations whether written or oral, in three different parts. 

The first part is going to be the introduction then MAIN BODY and FINALLY the conclusion or the closure. 

So, as you can see, It’s like any other part of the exam, the speaking or the writing.

Now we’re going to break it into smaller parts, so it’s easier for you to create your own template. 

THE BASIC STRUCTURE 

INTRODUCTION

In the introduction you need to do two things: greeting and reference to the context. 

First of all, you need to greet the person that you are mediating for, your interlocutor. Now, how do you greet your interlocutor? This depends whether the situation is formal or informal. 

– When you have a formal situation you’re going to greet your interlocutor with something like hello, how are you? I know you need help to understand… or good afternoon, it is a pleasure to take part in this discussion or in this round table, if you are at a round table, which is one of the common situations that you can find in the mediation exam in some communities.

And then, you need to refer to the situation. 

– The other option is an informal greeting. If you are mediating for somebody you know well, like your friend, then you’re going to greet them differently so you’re going to start with:  Hey, how are you doing? or I know you are worried about how to improve your relationship with your daughter so I’m going to give you a couple of tips that I found on this platform and that may be useful.

Okay, so you need to refer to the situation because the evaluator is going to kind of play the role of your audience but you need to place them in the context, so giving context to your mediation is necessary. 

It is not only important, but it’s necessary,  you can’t start the mediation straight away explaining the text. You need to greet the person and you need to introduce what you are going to do and then start mediation itself.

THE MAIN BODY

What are you going to do in the main body? well this depends on the kind of source that you have in front of you. You know, the source can be an infographic, a brochure, a chart, a text or a video, so imagine that this is a text. 

When you are mediating texts, you need to have a general understanding of the text, and also the main arguments.

So first, you want to scan the text and to find information that is relevant for your interlocutor and once you’ve done that, when you start explaining the main body of your mediation you need to do two things: 

  • you need to make sure you rephrase, that is, use your own words. It is a very good idea to use synonyms, that is the easiest way to show that you know the strategy of paraphrasing 
  • the second thing you need to do is to use nice grammar structures and connectors.

Now here comes the difficulty that virtually all students have: how am I going to use structures and connectors that show my level when I have two minutes for the mediation? OK you need to be both clever and fast when you plan your mediation.

You have your list of structures that you’ve seen throughout the year or that you’ve had as a reference if you are preparing as a nonofficial candidate. 

For example, in our case, we give our students a list of structures for the level they’re preparing for so they can have them in front of them when they are preparing their mediations, they’re speaking tasks or their writings, and that makes it a lot easier to train using the right structures and connectors.

I’m going to give you an example because you mediate for a purpose, for instance, you’ll either give advice or recommend something, or you’ll simply share information and select, compare and contrast. So you need to use structures that are appropriate for each purpose. 

Imagine you need to clarify something, in that case you will say sentences like: in other words, what this means is that… or… to make it clearer let me give you an example. 

If you are recommending or giving advice then you should say something like: I recommend you look for a specialist, or I recommend you go to the office where they can help you better or I recommend you write an email to the office so they can clarify if you need to bring your ID or your passport for example.

And in the body of your mediation, you also need to make reference to the text. For example, according to the text there are three things that you can do to improve your relationship with your daughter.

This way you are also giving structure to your mediation and it is easier for your audience, for the person who is listening to you, or the person who is reading, to follow you smoothly.

Then you need to enumerate if you are given tips to mediate. But obviously, you shouldn’t enumerate with number one number two… 

So you need to say things like firstly, then, besides…It’s a very good idea also to use the connector besides, when you are adding information and then you could say finally or the last tip or it is also advisable to do this or that other thing. 

So enumerating with nice connectors not with numbers, using besides when you are adding information or whereas if you’re contrasting. 

That’s for the body, so in the body you need to make sure you’re using the strategies and you’re using the grammar and the connectors that are appropriate so I’ll give you a tip:

When you’re mediating something that’s interlinguistic, you don’t have to watch the language in terms of level. You can show everything you know that’s appropriate for your level whether it is C2-C1-B2 or B1 but if you are mediating intra linguistically a text in English for someone who doesn’t understand it, then it is imperative to lower the level of the text and this is a real challenge because I know you wanna show all you know, and do your best and prove that you know the contents, but in this case mediation requires using lower level structures simplifying the language and making it clear for the person who can’t understand that text. 

We’ve covered the introduction with the greeting and the reference to the context, we’ve covered the main body and now we’re going to go over the closure. 

THE CLOSURE

How do you close your mediation? Ok, you need to, first of all, either say something like I hope this was helpful, I hope you this information is useful, and also something like: let me know if there’s anything I can do for you, let me know if I can be of help in any other way. 

I could even go with you if you need it (if this person needs to go to a physical place to sort out administrative matters) 

But imagine a different situation, that you’re taking part in a round table and in that case you can’t close you mediation like that, because you have an audience, you have the other participants of the table, so what you’re going to say is: well that’s all I wanted to share, let me know if you have any questions and I’ll be glad to answer them. 

But if you are mediating for someone whether formally or informally, when it’s not a round table, a representation or something like that, you just need to give a farewell. In this case you’ll need to say something like: okay, talk to you later, catch up later, or something like that.

Oh well! THAT WAS A LOT OF INFORMATION!

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