No matter who we speak to, conflict resolution communication will some day become necessary.
Conflict can happen at work, in public and other times in our life. Learning communication to resolve conflict can help in many aspects of life. Communication in business and communication in relationships can all be benefited from mastering these skills.
Conflict Resolution Communication Techniques
When a conflict is brewing, shift the conflict from emotionally charged to a more rational and logical focus. Diffuse the emotions that charge a situation. Take the wind out of their sail.
You can accomplish this and you can defuse anger by simply agreeing with the other person.
Either find the truth in the statement from the angry person or frame it as a truth
Consider the statement, “You never pick up after yourself." Assuming this is a prelude to an quite emotional dispute, what can you say.
Of that statement, probably part of it is true. So a husband could respond, "You are absolutely right. I know that should chip in more to help keep our place picked up."
Note that the agreement is with 'not picking up'’ and not the 'never' part of the statement.
How do you come up with an agreement statement.
First: Listen to what is being said. Do not start thinking what you will say. Listen to the entire statement, rant, or emotion explosion.
Then silently reconsider what was said and what could be true. This may seem like it will take an eternity but it will only take seconds. Your silence will pay off. This will take some practice, not to get good at it, rather, to get used to it.
Then agree with what ever part is true.
What if there is no truth?
Then acknowledge the others point of view.
Then add another quality.
Add This to Your Conflict Resolution Communication
Before telling you what the quality is, consider what happened to a public speaker one day. He was in the middle of his presentation. He had just introduced a key point in his speech. To back up the point, he was going to read a piece of information, something from a research paper. Unfortunately he could not find the note he was going to quote. He looked in his papers on the lectern. He looked on the floor. He felt in his left and then right pocket.
If you can imagine the speaker, not saying a word, desperately looking for the one note that was going to drive home the point. The silence was deafening.
Before I tell you what happened next, can you picture this happening? Can you visualize what was taking place? Can you see the silence?
And as you visualize this, what are you thinking? Are you thinking how you would be better prepared? Are you imagining that you would not let this happen? Are you thinking that you would have been better prepared?
Or can you feel the angst, the pressure and the embarrassment that this speaker felt.
If you could not feel for the speaker, instead thinking of his ignorance, then you need to work on your empathy.
If you can feel for the speaker, then that is what you need to feel for your contender at words of your contender. Feel their pain. Feel what their concern is. Feel their angst. Once you do, once you mentally put on their shoes, start walking in them and seeing through their eyes, you are in a better position to provide feedback that shows you are not only hearing, you are listening to them.
Oh yea, the next thing you need to feel is empathy.This lets your contender know you understand them. This will help them shift their thinking from being a contender to a partner in the resolution of the problem.
The words you can use include paraphrasing.
Simply say, "I understand why you….say, feel, think, etc…"
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Ask questions about what the contender of words is feeling. Gently probe for what they are thinking.
With out this meeting of the minds, there cannot be conflict resolution communication.
You both could want the orange and never know that you want one part of the orange and the contender wants the other. With out the exploration, you may never know that the person you are contending with wants the orange peel and you want the orange meat. They want to make orange marmalade and you want orange juice.
Asking questions like, "Do I have this right...?" "Do I understand this correctly?" "Is there anything else or are there any other thoughts you have about this?" Let them get everything out on the table.
When Using I is Not a Problem
Use "I" statements to take responsibility of your thoughts and motives.
Most people will impute motives to the other person. They will use emotionally charged words like, "You make me so mad," or "You always….(fill in the blank)."
The reality is that it is impossible to know their motives. Beyond our minds, there is an inner place, the heart of man that sometimes even we do not know.
More importantly, it helps defuse the emotions and help prevent the other person from becoming defensive.The goal is to have them be neither winner or looser, rather partners in the outcome.
An example of an I statement would be, "I am sad that this has come between us" or "I feel upset that things have turned out the way they have. I want to make things right with us."Follow this up with something that will reinforce what you have done so far.
Stroke Their Ego
Conflict resolution communication will require building rapport. To build this connection with words will require speaking to where the person is.
Stroking, much like the physical act of comforting a baby, is using words to demonstrate care and recognition of another. Use positive affirmations to help become partners.
In transitional psychology, it is held that we function in three states, parent, adult and child. The goal is to get the contender to get to the adult state rather than the parent or child state. Rather than getting into a long discussion of what each state is, just think of it intuitively.
In the simplest terms, we act or react like children, parents or adults in our dealings with others. It is easiest to revert to child or want to be parent with others. The goal, get them to think and act like an adult.
To make conflict resolution communication work, get them in the adult frame of mind.
When people react as children do, they need to be given the reassurance that a child would respond to. Doing so will help get them to the adult state.
Saying something like, "I appreciate your saying something about this. (the messy house). I know that you care deeply and you work hard to maintain our home."
Putting Conflict Resolution Communication to Work
Now start to use these in your every day communication. Practice them until they become 2nd nature. Master them and you will master any conflict that comes your way.
There is much more to conflict resolution communication. Please check back as more information is added here.