Do you want to learn to prevent communication conflicts before they happen? Well, who doesn’t?

Communication conflicts happen. Even with good intentions, misunderstandings occur and we can find ourselves in the middle of difficult conversations – not always sure how we got there.

Sometimes we find ourselves getting stuck into communication cycle routines. Other times conflict begins when someone shares an unwanted opinion on sensitive topics as politics,  religion or whether you should stay in the left-hand lane if you aren’t passing!

Though we won’t always be able to prevent communication conflicts from happening, there are certainly ways to prepare for them and to prevent conversations from escalating.

To be prepared for potential communication conflict, here are a few tips for you to try.   You’ll find some will be easier for you than others. 

Do more of what works for you and less of what doesn’t.

1. Be Truly Present

Focus your energy on being engaged in the conversation by listening more than talking. Lean in, look people in the eye, and practice good listening skills. Be curious and ask questions and more detail on where they are coming from. Say “Why do think that?”; Say “tell me more”.  Be mindful of distractions. To stay truly engaged, put your phone or other distraction out of sight.

2. Change Your Response

You can’t change how other people will behave, but you can change how you respond to them. If you don’t like someone’s behavior, you don’t have to get angry, snarky, or frustrated. Instead, choose to show some grace.

Silence often works like a charm.

Before things get tense, smile, walk away, and have a positive conversation with someone else.

3. Breathe and Pause

If you find yourself getting stressed, focus on taking a breath, and pausing. Take a time out and slow things down.

However you relax, find a way to take a step back, and focus on what’s going well. Stay positive and do your part to prevent communication conflict.


Betty Lochner is a human resources consultant, business coach, and expert in workplace communications. She is the author of severalbooks on communication, and a newly published journal, Intentional Gratitude.