Up Your Conflict Resolution Game with These Communication Tips
Conflict resolution, or the act of finding a peaceful settlement to a problem, requires effective communication. Here are some tips to up your communication game.
Conflict resolution, or the act of finding a peaceful settlement to a problem, requires effective communication. Strong communication skills can help people break through their barriers and have open, honest conversations about the core issue of a conflict, boosting the chances of a successful resolution. Here are some tips to up your communication game.
Active listening. Actually listening to the other person and staying continuously engaged in the conversation can help the other person feel heard, and better allow them to open up.
Speak in a calm, agreeable manner. Being cognizant of the volume and tone of your communication can prevent the other person from becoming defensive, which can stall productive communication around the conflict.
Have open body language. We consciously and unconsciously pick up on many cues when we are interacting with others. Closed body language (e.g. crossing your arms) can cause the other person to clam up and feel uncomfortable sharing how they feel.
Using “I” statements rather than “you” statements. Try to put the focus on how you feel rather than blaming the other person since you only know for certain how you personally feel, and would be making assumptions about the other person’s actions (e.g. “I feel undervalued,” rather than, “You don’t value my work.”).
Making requests instead of complaints. Instead of complaining about someone’s actions, make a request for how you would like to see the situation move forward. This provides a clear action item to focus on and makes the issue less personal.
Avoiding defensiveness. Defensiveness can be an impulse, but it can hinder honest communication. Since we tend to mimic others, defensive behavior can elicit the same response in the listener and ultimately shut down communication.
Assume positive intent. We often create narratives in our heads that may or may not be true. Instead, approach the conflict with the assumption that the other person has positive intentions. This can facilitate communication in resolving the conflict, rather than assuming they meant to hurt or sideline you.
To summarize, using these communication skills creates a more comfortable environment where conflicts are more likely to get resolved.