Mediation is a process whereby an independent facilitator (Mediator) assists disputants (those involved in conflict) to express their interests and work towards a mutually satisfying agreement. Mediation is utilized a great deal today in both family and civil matters. Rather than disputants engaging in a costly legal process many prefer to mediate giving them full control over the decision making process rather than having a decision imposed upon them.
Negotiation is a process whereby two or more individuals attempt to forward their interests in order to reach agreement. Negotiations are commonplace in such areas as finalizing contracts, union disputes, salary determination, cost of purchases, and literally any situation in which an agreement is desired.
Conciliation is a process whereby a Conciliator meets with the disputing parties separately and assists them in reaching an agreement. Conciliation may be especially effective in high conflict situations whereby the disputants would prefer to meet separately.
Facilitation is a process whereby a third party facilitator assists in the efficient running of meetings, conferences, and discussions. Facilitators are often employed in large group discussion in order to focus members in exploring interests, developing options, and building agreements.