In some cases a facilitated meeting will provide a very effective alternative to mediation. Like mediation, it can relieve you from the stress of paperwork and save you considerable amounts of time and money that can be better used. Whereas mediation is normally used for helping disputing parties who have a significant level of disagreement, facilitated meetings in which the parties meet face-to-face are a very good option in circumstances where:
- there may already be some level of agreement;
- they are comfortable with doing so;
- a disagreement may be at an early stage and those involved have recognised that there is an issue and want to try and get it resolved before things get out of hand;
- they may wish to preserve an existing business or personal relationship.
The special ingredient that ASM PLUS provides with facilitated meetings is Critical Thinking (CT) which has been very effectively developed and used in the corporate, private, public and educational sectors by one of its team members, Dr Roy van den Brink Budgen.
Using the process of CT in facilitated meetings has many benefits.
- It can clarify the positions being taken, including the sequence of reasoning and any assumptions that are being made.
- It can usefully examine the significance of any evidence that is used.
- It can encourage the development of, and agreement upon, criteria that can be used to examine claims that are made.
- By demonstrating the advantages of dialogue, it can enable sustained purposeful discussion.
The importance of the skills of CT is given even greater emphasis by the dispositions that make up its other part. These dispositions include the value of seeing both sides of an issue, having respect for alternative viewpoints, being open-minded, and seeing the value of using reason in justifying positions. Accordingly, the use of both the skills and dispositions makes CT a very powerful instrument in facilitated meetings.
Dr Roy van den Brink-Budgen has been working in the field of critical thinking for over thirty years. His experience includes the development of various assessments in critical thinking, and teaching the subject to a wide range of groups. He has also written seven books on the subject, many journal articles, and online courses.