Communication Tips: Part 1

Mar 3, 2014 | Communication Tips

Communication Tips:  This is the first of a six part series on Communication

  1. When in Conflict
  2. Expressing Emotion
  3. Engaging your Spouse
  4. Engaging your teen
  5. Establishing Boundaries
  6. Saying  sorry – accepting responsibility for your actions

Part one – When in Conflict:

As we all know, conflict is a part of life.  It’s really everywhere – in our homes, at school or work, in social situations and interactions. Most people do not like conflict, in fact, many try to avoid it at all costs.

Real life circumstance:

Just think about it for a minute, how many times have you had a bad meal or poor service at a restaurant? Everyone has.  However when the waitress or manager asks, “How was your meal?”  You answer: “good or fine”?   You then leave a tip but say to your partner or family “We won’t be going back there again.”

What is it about telling the truth?

“The meal was subpar and the service was not up to standard, we will really think before coming back.” This is a positive confrontation.

Why do we not speak up?

The truth is speaking up causes many negative emotions including nervousness, anxiety, worry, and possibly increased anger. We are often worried about hurting someone’s feelings, sounding negative or controlling or being in trouble for what we say.

The truth is however, that putting conflict off is often more difficult than actually facing it.

The power of negative feelings and unresolved issues of concern attached to conflict can lead to:

  • Increased anxiety and tension when around the person you are in conflict with.
  • unresolved issues that may repeat and lead to further anger and upset
  • Feelings of anger, sadness, rejection, guilt and helplessness. 

So, in order to avoid the above 3 bullets, there has to be something you can do.

Well there is.

If you follow the ten steps below, you will have more success in approaching conflict.

  1. Realize that you have a voice in any situation and if something is upsetting or important to you, confrontation is needed.
  2. Realize that confronting someone is really communication or informing them of your concern. Do not assume right away that something negative will happen.
  3. Begin by setting the stage so to speak. Inform the person that you would like to speak to them and that it is important to you. Set some time to do so that is private so no interruption’s occur.
  4. Bring up your concern with a clear understanding of what you are concerned about, why you are concerned and what you would like to come from the confrontation.  Avoid attacking statements or accusations.
  5. Ask them how they see things. You need to be open to the possibility of your part in the conflict.
  6. Listen to their side or perspective in order to respond to them not react in defense or anger.
  7. Reflect their side of things and take into consideration what they say.
  8. Try to problem solve with them given both perspectives. Some give and take may occur here so be open.
  9. If a negative reaction comes from the other person, do not join into a conflict. State that you do not want to fight with them and that you will come back later once some time has been set aside to settle.  Remember you are not responsible for their emotions or behaviours.
  10. Reflect on the confrontation and what you have learned. Take stock in how you feel i.e., better or worse given a major confrontation. Did you stay in control, react or respond to the other person? (reaction is acting out your emotion while responding is speaking to your emotion)

Some helpful Statements for Confrontation:

  1. There is something important that I need to talk to you about. Is there a good time for you?
  2. I need to understand something you said or did, I was upset and would really like to resolve this with you.
  3. Help me understand.
  4. I am not trying to attack you here.
  5. We can figure this out together.
  6. You are important to me.
  7. It’s okay to talk about this.
  8. I need to step away from this as you or I am upset, can we pick this up about this tomorrow?

We hope this information will help in your efforts to confront in a more positive and healthy way.

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