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7 Tips on Resolving Any Conflicts Anywhere

7 Tips on Resolving Any Conflicts Anywhere

Conflict is an unavoidable aspect of life, and one which helps us to develop key skills in the arts of emphasizing, listening and negotiation. While the majority of media attention seems to focus on workplace conflicts, such as the current dispute between Walmart and its striking employees, the techniques for achieving resolution can be applied in various circumstances.
Whether you are dealing with a personal conflict with a loved one or a workplace dispute, it is crucial that you apply a core set of skills if you are going to resolve conflicts. With this in mind, consider the following advice for managing conflicts, understanding alternative viewpoints, and arriving at a mutually agreeable compromise:

Resolving Conflict
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    1. Lay the foundations of agreement.

    In any conflict, a potential resolution is built on the foundations of agreement. These are, essentially, the fundamental points on which warring factions agree, and they will often underpin any eventual compromise or settlement. They also ease the subsequent process of resolving an existing dispute, as each individual understands that they share at least some common ground with their rivals.

    2. Understand that resolution is for the good of everyone concerned in the dispute.

    With the foundations of agreement established, the next step is to understand the importance of achieving a mutually convenient resolution. It is all too easy for people to become lost in their own beliefs and values during the course of negotiations, and this will only cause them to adopt a more stubborn and inflexible stance. By reinforcing that consensus on an outcome is for the good of everyone involved in the dispute, you can ensure that each party maintains a balanced point of view.

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    3. Deal in fact and avoid indulging your ego.

    Ego can often be the single biggest barrier to conflict resolution, as it prevents individuals from listening to reason and taking on board alternative points of view. It is therefore crucial that you speak from wisdom and deal in facts when forwarding your argument, rather than becoming emotive and allowing your ego to dictate your communication style. The use of facts also minimizes the risk of creating further dispute, as they cannot be contradicted and provide valid support for your arguments.

    4. Listen to others and ensure that everyone has an opportunity to speak.

    On a similar note, it is imperative that you listen to others during the phase of conflict resolution, and ensure that every single party has an opportunity to speak. Not only will this help you to understand alternative viewpoints and make an agreeable compromise seem more achievable, but it also ensures that everyone involved has expressed their views openly. Sometimes people just want to be heard, and denying them this opportunity can cause frustration and distract them from their overall objectives in the negotiation.

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    5. Empathize and consider every alternative point of view.

    Another critical skill required to achieve a compromise is the ability to empathize, as without this it is impossible to let others challenge your point of view. If you can empathize with all other parties and develop a genuine understanding of their arguments and circumstances, it is far easier to adapt your own point of view and move closer towards a compromise. If an alternative argument or point of view leads you to believe that you have been wrong or that your views were misplaced, you should not be afraid of sharing this and taking responsibility for your mistakes.

    6. Understand the power of the English language and use words carefully.

    The English language is a powerful tool in the pursuit of conflict resolution, and the use of specific words and phrases will have a direct impact on the achievement of both individual and common goals. Phrases such as, “Yes, I understand,” and, “I see what you mean,” offer positive reassurances to rival parties, while also validating their point of view. You should avoid using words such as “No,” for example, while also stopping short of suggesting that anyone is wrong or misguided in their opinion.

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    7. Act quickly in the event of verbal abuse or physical aggression.

    Even if your negotiations have been progressing serenely, human nature dictates that emotion can take hold at any given time. This means that explosive arguments can develop at any moment, leading to instances or verbal abuse or physical aggression that completely undermine the goals you are trying to achieve. It is crucial that you are able to identify the signs of rising tension or anger before they manifest themselves into direct action, so that you can begin to mediate and suggest that the group takes a break from the negotiation.

    The bottom line.

    While these tips may be relatively simple to understand, they are not easy to follow through the course of conflict and heated discussion. You must therefore adopt a proactive approach towards pursuing conflict resolution, and ensure that every single party understands the need for compromise prior to entering into negotiations.

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    Last Updated on February 11, 2021

    Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

    Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

    How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

    Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

    The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

    Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

    Perceptual Barrier

    The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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    The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

    The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

    Attitudinal Barrier

    Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

    The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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    The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

    Language Barrier

    This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

    The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

    The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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    Emotional Barrier

    Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

    The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

    The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

    Cultural Barrier

    Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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    The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

    The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

    Gender Barrier

    Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

    The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

    The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

    And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

    Reference

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