Are you having a difficult time getting through to someone you’re in conflict with? You’re not alone. Communication in conflict situations can be very difficult, for several reasons.
Managing and resolving conflict requires the ability to dialogue effectively with the person or people with whom you might be in conflict. Although this may first feel like an overwhelming task, consider the following steps to help you work toward productive dialogue:
- A successful outcome will depend on two things: how you are and what you say. How you are (centered, supportive, curious, problem-solving) will greatly influence what you say.
- Acknowledge emotional energy – yours and theirs – and direct it towards a useful purpose.
- Know and return to your purpose at difficult moments.
- Don’t take verbal attacks personally. Help your opponent/partner come back to center.
- Don’t assume they can see things from your point of view.
- Practice the conversation with a friend before holding the real one.
- Mentally practice the conversation. See various possibilities and visualize yourself handling them with ease. Envision the outcome you’re hoping for.
Conflicts are rarely – or never – fun but they do provide you with the opportunity for a great learning experience. And remember, having a conflict with someone is not the end of the world. On the contrary, a healthy conflict can actually bridge a relationship.