1) What is Conflict?
Contrary to popular belief, conflict is not a bad thing. It is, in fact, a healthy display of each individual’s uniqueness, free will and boundaries.
What’s more, conflict helps us learn and grow.
Also, contrary to conventional wisdom, happiness is not the absence of conflict.
Happiness is the ability to handle conflict in a positive way.
2) How to be heard and understood…
You are talking to X and s/he seems to be listening. Don’t be fooled. Even if s/he is paying attention, chances are your way of expressing yourself is not coded to the way his/her mind processes information. There might be an even bigger gap between your ‘sending’ and X’s ‘receiving’ abilities if the message also contains certain emotional components.
In short, the person you are talking to may not be in sync
with your communication style.
In order to help X really ‘hear’ you, and prevent any misunderstanding (or even partial understanding), you need to find out first what ‘language’ (i.e. thinking and communication style) makes the most sense to him/her.
If you spend just a few minutes listening to X (i.e. playing
‘mind detective’), it won’t be necessary to spend many hours of possible miscommunication, arguments, and other unpleasantness later. While listening to X during those few minutes, you will find out what form of communication s/he is most comfortable with.
For example, some people express themselves through stories or anecdotes. Others prefer to ‘cut to the chase’ right away. There are those who like to analyze every thought, or go off on tangents. Others prefer to hear ‘just the facts,’ and ask questions later.
By listening to X first, you will be able to talk to him/her in a way you can be heard and understood.
While you are figuring out and “mirroring” X’s communication style,
you are also listening to his/her reasons for being in conflict with you. This information, combined with your PeaceTalk™ problem-solving skills, leads to productive brainstorming and improved relations.
3) Essential Communication Skills
• Conflict prevention through clear, assertive communication.
• Safe, effective, honest, non-threatening, and blame-free confrontation.
• Participatory listening.
• Being a mind detective.
• Collaborative problem solving.
4) Preparation is the key to managing conflict well and resolving it successfully.
• Conflict always generates anxiety. Expect it, accept it, and defuse it by concentrating on your conflict resolution skills, not your emotions or on IMAGINED undesirable outcomes.
• Conflicts can only be resolved by facing them and using safe confrontation skills first.
• It takes courage and resolve to initiate confrontation. Some people keep postponing it. Others feel paralyzed at the prospect of confronting either a person or a situation.
• Remember: Anxiety and fear inhibit both thought and communication.
• It is important, therefore, to prepare well before starting a conflict resolution process.
• To avoid ‘choking up,’ ‘blowing up,’ or ‘giving up,’ you need to be
focused, patient and have communication and conflict resolution skills. Above all, you need to be