Clients often ask what they need to bring to their very first meeting with a mediator. The answer is, simply, themselves. No bundle of paperwork, no files, no correspondence. Just you. Of course, it is really helpful if you can think about your meeting in advance. This is, after all, your chance to talk to the mediator, one to one, on a fully confidential basis, about what it is that you most want to sort out, and it's likely that you'll want to ask questions and, potentially, address worries about how mediation will work. The mediator will want to know from you how she can best help you.
You may be worried about your ability to absorb the financial information which forms part of any mediation around money and property. You might, on the other hand, be concerned that you won't remember what get's said during meetings or that you'll forget to raise a really important point. (How many of us come out of appointments with doctors having forgotten to mention a key symptom and with questions about, or even confused as to, the diagnosis?). It might be the case that you struggle with your hearing, or to put your words into thoughts. Whatever the issue, the key is to let your mediator know, so that she can work with you to resolve your worry - whether it means re-arranging the mediation room, adjusting her working style, providing for regular breaks during sessions or anything else. The chances are that you won't be the first person to express whatever your worry is. For your mediator - who will want to put you as much at your ease as she can - she can only do this if she knows about the problem. Sometimes, of course, your mediator will spot the issue as mediation progresses, but it's so much better - for you in particular - if you can let her know about it from the start.
If you are anxious about the meeting, you may want to arrange with the mediator to arrive early so that you can spend a few minutes immediately beforehand jotting down your thoughts and feelings about the session (and only your thoughts and feelings, not what you want to achieve or anything else). We know from research that this is an effective way of relieving stress and freeing up working memory, so that you get the most out of your time with the mediator. The same strategy, of course, applies equally to joint meetings in mediation.