[MUSIC] Good mediators, highly effective mediators, do not improvise. Of course, to some extent, seasoned mediators may rely a lot on their past experience. However, as a general rule, preparation proves crucial. Let me share with you a few tips, building on my book with Alain Lempereur and Jacques Salzer, Méthode de Médiation. First of all, and as far as the process is concerned, here are seven basic points that you must be able to clarify before the mediation. One, are you ready to expose to the parties the benefits of mediation should they still hesitate to engage into the process? Two, are you ready to introduce yourself as a mediator and to share with the parties how you perceive your role? Number three, are you ready to clarify key principles of mediation, such as impartiality, confidentiality, thoroughness, mutual understanding. Four, are you ready to run this mediation on your own, or should you look for a co-mediator or an advisor, for instance, on certain technical matters. Number five, are you clear on who should join the mediation? Obviously, the main parties are there. But shouldn't you also convene important stakeholders at some point or at least discuss this possibility with the parties? Number six, if need be in formal situations, have you prepared a written document laying out the ground principles for this mediation so that the parties agree upon it before entering in to the substance. Number seven, if need be, again, and where applicable, is everybody clear on your remuneration system? Second, as far as the problem, the substance is concerned, here practitioners face a choice. Either they try and gather as much information as possible beforehand about the issues at stake. Where does the conflict come from? What are the parties' demands? Which could be the solutions, etc. These mediators try to gather enough information for a number of reasons. They want to make sure that they will be in a capacity to check the reliability of what parties will tell them during the mediation. And besides, they want to be able to contribute possible solutions in a relevant and useful manner. But other mediators prefer to avoid this homework, as they would like to enter the mediation without any pre-cooked views. Both approaches have pros and cons. At any rate, let me suggest you to do this. Before the mediation, ask each party to send you, on a confidential basis of course, a short memo. Provide them with the following guidelines. How would you describe the situation? What would you need to achieve through an agreement? Which questions would you like to raise during the mediation or with me in a separate meeting? Which solutions would you be ready to contribute? And which solutions would you expect the other party to contribute? Such a short, brief memo will serve two purposes. One, provide you with both perspectives on the situation. And second, help both parties get prepared for the upcoming sessions. Now last but not least, as far as the process is concerned, the mediator should pay special attention to the logistics. The devil is in the details, take logistics seriously. Depending on the situation and on the parties on involved, you may prefer a formal meeting room, or on the contrary, an informal lunch, or a conversation around, a cup of coffee, or a glass of something maybe more interesting. Now, room setting and sitting arrangements do matter. Parties should neither sit facing each other, which might prompt some aggressiveness, nor side by side facing the mediator, as they do need to interact one with the other. As a result, practitioners and researchers conclude that a round table is best. And as you can see, nothing much has been invented since King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.