Mediations are like baseball games – no game clock. Both ball games and mediations have average lengths, median lengths and, sometimes, unusual lengths – very short or very long. In baseball, you just keep at it until someone wins because there is no plan B. A mediation, on the other hand, can end because there is a plan B, albeit one in which the winner is decided by a judge/jury and not by players putting runs on the score board, so to speak.

Negotiations require hard work and they take unpredictable lengths of time. And while there are aspects of “game” playing at work in every negotiation, mediations seldom benefit from a game clock. There may be time constraints embedded in the controversy itself but they are different than time constraints on the mediation caused by frustration, impatience, airline reservations or overbooked schedules.

Leave enough flexibility in your schedule so that you, the other side and the mediator have the time it takes to get the case resolved.