Conflict is a natural and even healthy aspect of life. It enables us to see another perspective of an issue, to creatively discuss and seek solutions to our differences, to learn to be open-minded and flexible, to practice the fine art of compromise or in some instances to graciously concede to the other party's wishes. On many levels, it can be a very useful tool for our personal growth and development enabling us to better get along with one another. Yet for a large portion of the population, conflict spells f-i-g-h-t, from which we either prepare our defenses or flee the scene in haste. It's not uncommon for some to engage in the conflict resolution process only to be met with frustration and an unsatisfactory conclusion.
Here are three must have's that enable us to determine the success of finding a solution to our differences. They are:
Communication: a critical technique that few are proficient in, communication is absolutely essential to successfully expressing our point of view, to clarify what outcome we are seeking, and to be able to listen to and understand the other party's position as well. Here are a few simple but powerful techniques to employ when expressing yourself:
Listen and speak from a compassionate position rather than a purely intellectual one. Be willing to not only understand logically what the other person is saying but also to feel their emotions as well. This provides a deeper level of understanding. Listen with the intent of understanding, not to determine your response.
Speak without offending; listen without defending. That means to speak truthfully and honestly but with concern for the other person's feelings. Listen with an open mind and seriously consider what the other person is saying.
Avoid using the terms right or wrong. Differences are simply that: differences. They do not necessarily denote right or wrong. Allow each person to have their own opinions or preferences.
Eye contact conveys both confidence (in the one speaking) and interest (in the one listening). Maintaining eye contact indicates both are engaged and invested in this process.
Keep it brief, simple, clear, and respectful at all times. Failure to do so can lead to a breakdown in the negotiation strategy.
Care and Concern: It is absolutely critical that each individual feels they are important. From the get go, express your concern for their feelings, needs, and their satisfaction with the outcome of this process. This alleviates concerns from the other party about being treated fairly and enables them to be more relaxed, open, and cooperative.
Capability: It is critical to be realistic in what we are seeking which will resolve this issue. Do the current circumstances allow for the outcome we desire? is the other party capable of doing what we've asked or giving us what we are seeking? An unrealistic expectation sets us up for failure which will only raise our levels of frustration and prolong the process of resolution.
Most of our disagreements are relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of life. Keep everything in perspective. Any conflict can be reasonably resolved if both parties follow these simple recommendations.
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Janet Pfeiffer, international inspirational speaker and award-winning author has appeared on CNN, Lifetime, ABC News, The 700 Club, NBC News, Fox News, The Harvest Show, Celebration, TruTV and many others. She’s been a guest on over 100 top radio shows (including Fox News Radio), is a contributor to Ebru Today TV and hosts her own radio show, Anger 911, on www.Anger911.net and Between You and God (iHeartRadio.com).
Janet's spoken at the United Nations, Notre Dame University, was a keynote speaker for the YWCA National Week Without Violence Campaign, and is a past board member for the World Addiction Foundation.
She's a former columnist for the Daily Record and contributing writer to Woman’s World Magazine, Living Solo, Prime Woman Magazine, and N.J. Family. Her name has appeared in print more than 100 million times, including The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Alaska Business Monthly and more than 50 other publications.
A consultant to corporations including AT&T, U.S. Army, U.S. Postal Service, and Hoffman-LaRoche, Janet is N.J. State certified in domestic violence, an instructor at a battered women's shelter, and founder of The Antidote to Anger Group. She specializes in healing anger and conflict and creating inner peace and writes a weekly blog and bi-monthly newsletter.
Janet has authored 8 books, including the highly acclaimed The Secret Side of Anger (endorsed by NY Times bestselling author, Dr. Bernie Siegel).
Read what Marci Shimoff, New York Times bestselling author, says of Janet's latest book, The Great Truth; Shattering Life's Most Insidious Lies That Sabotage Your Happiness Along With the Revelation of Life's Sole Purpose:
"Janet dispels the lies and misconceptions many people have lived by and outlines a practical path to an extraordinary life beyond suffering. Written with honesty, clarity, sincerity, and humor, this book serves as a wonderful guide for anyone seeking a more enriching and fulfilling life.”
Dr. Bernie Siegel says, "All books of wisdom are meant to be read more than once. The Great Truth is one such book."