If your inbox is anything like mine it is going crazy with emails from mail lists that I cannot even remember handing over my details for. Except for 1. There is one email that I actually look forward to each week and it is from Alison Shaw of Shaw Mediation Australia. This week without fail, Alison sent through an email and I love the message. Why? It's not that it is all about separation and divorce; it is more than that. The message in this email applies to everyone - at some point each of us will be faced with conflict in some form and Alison has listed some great tips to help get us through this and to make 2016 the best year ever.
So what was Alison Shaw's great message?
"...I would like to share with you five simple tips that will help you enjoy a conflict-free 2016.
1. Be a good and patient listener.
We all like to be heard but not many of us listen to others. Hear their words carefully without interrupting, pause briefly after they have stopped and only then share your comments. Ask questions before you allow an escalation from misheard or misunderstood statements.
2. Recognise differing perspectives.
People are likely to think and act differently and that’s okay. This can happen more frequently when dealing with someone from another organisation, background or culture. It’s easy to believe we all see things the same way but this will lead to unexpected derailing during conversations.
3. Remain calm and in control.
Cooler heads prevail in even the most difficult conflicts. Count to ten mentally or take deep breaths before responding and keep a calm tone of voice. When you’re maintaining your calm, others involved will most likely respond in the same manner.
4. Adopt verbal softeners.
Words like ‘possibly’, ‘sometimes’, ‘perhaps’ will do well in conflict resolution over categorical words like ‘always’ or ‘never’. Exaggeration will only lead to escalation, so keep your language soft to offer the chance of resolve.
5. Use time outs.
Let’s face it, sometimes all the above will go right out the window when our buttons are pushed in a certain way. In this case, step out of the conflict and request a time out. A break will allow you to assess the situation, relax your emotions and return to it when you’re better prepared for an open discussion."
I want to encourage you to sign up for Alison's newsletter - the tips she gives you can be used in your daily life and beyond!