As mediation continues to gain community acceptance as a legitimate and frequently preferred dispute resolution process, practitioners are investigating some of the subtle influences that contribute to a successful mediation conference. The physical environment within which mediation occurs is one such influence. Experienced mediators consistently report that the venue selected by the parties has an appreciable impact on the process and outcome of the mediation.
In 1990, Salacuse and Rubin noted (in relation to negotiation):
“Site selection, in fact, is always an important decision in negotiation. Parties frequently negotiate long and hard about where they are to meet long before they sit down to discuss what they will negotiate. The reason for this concern is that disputants almost always assume – and with good reason – that the particular location in which they negotiate will have consequences for the ensuing process and, ultimately, the results.”