Guidelines for Writing An Effective Agreement

Copyright 2003

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

  1. Use plain English.
  2. Use as much of the participants language as possible.
  3. Specify dates and deadlines
  4. Identify what must be done and who is responsible.
  5. Avoid vague language.
  6. Answer: Who, What, When, Where, and How.
  7. List each provision separately.
  8. Omit mention of blame, fault or guilt.
  9. Be neutral.
  10. Refuse to except agreements which are destined to fail. Explain why!
  11. Cover all essential issues, but don't get bogged down in unrelated peripheral matters.
  12. Identify the consequences if the agreement is broken.
  13. Identify who will monitor performance.
  14. If possible do not involve outside parties.
  15. Be specific! Be complete!


Options Unlimited (1990) Mediation.


Other Mediation Articles

Five Problem Solving Methods

Dispute Resolution Continuum

Stages of Mediation

The Job of the Mediator

Rules of Mediation

Active Listening

Communicating with "I" Messages

Reframing Issues Positively

Tips for Mediators Asking Questions

Defining the Issues


Brainstorming Inventive Options for a Win-Win Outcome

How to Make Good Decisions

Hints for De-Escalating Conflict

Techniques for Breaking an Impasse

What to Do if They Won't Negotiate

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

Annette Nay Homepage

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