Backchannel is a mediator’s best friend.

Backchannel can help you get more deals done faster and with higher client satisfaction. All of this can help you grow your mediation practice and increase your own effectiveness.

Backchannel is designed so that it can be used without a mediator. But, mediators can also use Backchannel to enhance mediation and increase the chance of making a deal. Think of Backchannel as one of strongest tools in your toolbox.

How can you use it as part of a mediation?

As a mediator, you know that one of the toughest parts of your job is to get to each party’s “real” numbers. Backchannel solves this problem by allowing the parties to submit confidential offers and demands through Backchannel itself. Neither the opposing party nor you as the mediator can see these numbers, which allows the parties to get to their “real” numbers faster.

By using Backchannel as part of your mediations, you allow your clients to give their “real” numbers without fear of being penalized for doing so. Although you can use Backchannel however you see fit, we have some recommendations.

Getting Started

Once the parties engage your services, ask them to create a Backchannel account, if they don’t already have one. Suggest that they read through our guide to Getting the Most Out of Backchannel.

Do the Parties Need Help?

Check to see if the parties need help with negotiating any non-monetary terms ahead of time or if they will do that after a number is reached. If they need your help, assist them in creating a settlement agreement or MOU with blank spaces where the dollar amount will be filled in.

Choose your mediation date

Get all parties on the same page and find a date that works for everyone.

Schedule the Backchannel Session

Set the Backchannel session to start approximately one week ahead of the mediation date. This will allow the parties the chance to reach a deal at Backchannel’s Step 1 or even Step 2. This may eliminate the need for a mediation day at all. (You might consider charging a flat fee for your services.)

Working Through Mediation

If there is no deal by mediation day, it is time to work your magic. You can have the parties exchange offers and demands in the traditional way while Backchannel operates in the background. This means a party might ask you to convey an offer of $10,000 while confidentially increasing their Backchannel offer to $25,000. You can also focus on helping the parties work through each other’s position, with or without reference to any numbers, while allowing Backchannel to handle the numbers. Backchannel works with any mediation style and gives you the flexibility to conduct the mediation how you want.

Backchannel Keeps Working

If a deal is reached on the mediation day, great! If not, the Backchannel session can continue while you and the parties keep the discussions going and exchange additional information after the mediation. This can be done at your own pace until the Backchannel session ends.

We’re Continuing to Improve Backchannel

Vault is developing some mediator-specific tools to use with Backchannel, so stay tuned for those! If there is a mediation tool or option that you would like to see, please let us know.

We would love to hear about how Backchannel is enhancing your mediation practice. Send us your success stories at With your permission, we may even feature your practice on our blog.