Communication conflicts happen. Even with good intentions, misunderstandings happen and we find ourselves in the middle of difficult conversations.
Sometimes we find ourselves getting into communication cycle routines. Other times conflict begins when someone shares an unwanted opinion on such topics as politics or religion.
Though we won’t always be able to prevent communication conflicts from happening, there are certainly ways to prepare and prevent conversations from escalating.
To be prepared for potential communication conflict, here are a few tips.
1. Be Truly Present
Focus your energy on being engaged. Start by listening more than talking. Lean in, look people in the eye, and practice good listening skills. Be curious and ask questions. Say “tell me more”. Also, be mindful of phone distractions. To stay truly engaged, it’s best to put it away.
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 two books on communication, and a newly published journal, Intentional Gratitude.
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