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Resolving Conflicts By Turning Negatives Into Positives

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There are five techniques that I shall share with you. They have been proved to be effective in resolving, minimizing, and preventing conflicts. And by conflicts I am referring to any of the following that take place between two or more people: misunderstanding, miscommunications, arguments, disagreements, mixed messages, fighting, etc.

A. I-Message: Use this approach to convey a message to someone when:

* your communication and that of the other person might become hostile;

* the communication might become a shouting match; or

* the words might turn to physical confrontation.

Put an I-Message into action by following these sequence of steps:

1. Get his attention. (Call person by name.) "John, Bob, Sue, Mary, ..."

2. Identify your emotion. (Identify and name the emotion you are feeling.) "I feel/am happy, angry, mad, excited, etc. ..."

3. Name his misconduct. (Identify the behavior that is offensive.) " ...when you slam the door, spill juice on the clean floor, call me names, etc. ..."

4. State the consequence(s). (Identify the consequence that you wish him/her to change. And stop! Be extremely cautious not to ramble because by doing so you run the risk of throwing a spark on the cinders.) "... because it/you causes me to jump, have to remop the floor, be disrespected, etc."

Putting it together it should sound like this: "John, I get angry when you slam the door because it makes me jumpy." (Stop! Wait for a response!)

Research has shown that the response is 95-98% non-confrontational or aggressive.) Remember: This approach lets the person know that, although you disapprove of his (or her) behavior, you still care about him.

B. You-Message: Use this approach when you want to reflect to your listener what you're observing. [Reflect the emotion.] (Identify and name the emotion you are observing.)

(Call person by name), "You seem happy, angry, mad, excited, etc. ... "

C. Active Listening: Use this approach when you want to let someone know that you're truly paying attention. Do so by totally involving your eyes, ears, and body. Pay attention to his body language, move close, cup your hand over your ear, lean forward, etc.

D. Paraphrasing: Use this approach when you want to make sure you did not miss what was said. "So, if I understood you correctly, you said there were only 5 spaces."

E. Summarizing: Use this approach when you want to break up lengthy conversations into smaller pieces that you can remember and understand. Rather than let the other person ramble on about what all he did last weekend, take control by asking to tell you about each day's events before moving on the next.

Put it all together. Begin SOARING to the top of the Mountain when you:

* Summarize when the conversation is becoming too lengthy.

* Observe to see if the body language matches the words spoken.

* Actively listen to what is being said by making eye contact.

* Reflect what you thought you heard.

* Indicate that you truly care about the doer and not the deed.

* Name the misconduct to bring it out into the open.

* Go beyond the emotions to get to the facts.

Remember: When you maximize your potential; we all win. When you don't, we all lose.

© MMIV, Etienne A. Gibbs, MSW

About the Author

Etienne A. Gibbs, MSW, Management Consultant and Trainer, conducts lectures, seminars, and writes articles on his theme: ... helping you maximize your potential. For more information visit www.MaximizingYourPotential.blogspot.com.


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