Introduction To Conflict Resolution

How to settle disagreements by curbing your battle instinct with reason. Tips for ending arguments peacefully.

Picking your battles isn't any easy task, especially if you happen to be strong minded and opinionated. But even if you aren't the confrontational type, swinging your battle-ax sometimes seems like the best way to resolve differences. Before succumbing to the instinctual cries of battle, wipe off your warrior face and use these tips to work out your worries.

Think before you speak. This is the golden rule when it comes to communicating and if you're working at seeing your adversary eye to eye, it's a must. Think about how your argument sounds. Is it based on facts? Do you sound like a whiner? Is it convincing? Are your concerns clear? The answers to these questions will help you decide whether or not your statements will get you anywhere. Taking this step before you open your mouth can save you a ton of grief. Besides, a battle has never been won without a plan of attack.

Kill "˜em with kindness. Did you ever hear that you get more flies to honey than to vinegar? Try to find a way to make your needs desirable to your opponent. You won't be able to pull him to your side of the battle line with objections and arguments. Instead, analyze the situation and explain how your approach will benefit all parties involved. For example, getting your boss to buy you a new ergonomic desk chair might be an easier task if she understands that she's not losing money when she purchases your new chair. She's actually creating a better, healthier working environment for you that will only result in increased production, which equals increased profits.

Don't play dirty. Nasty comments are verbal slaps in the face and will almost always lose your battle for you. Playing dirty won't get you ahead. Snide comments, breathless sighs and name-calling should be reserved for someone who doesn't care. In other words, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Think about it""would you want to listen to someone who rolls her eyes when you speak and then calls you "pig-headed"?

Listen. This sounds easy and it truly is the easiest way to resolve a conflict. It's also another priceless key to communication. The point is that compromising isn't such a chore when you are educated on the other side. In fact, you won't be able to compromise until you do fully understand your adversary's grounds. Once you're informed on the details you can pick a little bit of that and mix it with a little bit of your own needs and voila! Compromise complete.

Be flexible. You don't always have to stick to your guns to be strong. Getting your way next time might mean that you can't have your way this time. But the beauty about flexibility is that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Just as listening is a key to communicating, flexibility is a key to compromise. Don't be afraid to give some ground. Being able to do so shows intelligence and foresight and these assets contribute greatly to personal strength.

Be willing to walk away. It should never be so important that you couldn't just walk away. And walking away can be the negotiating tool you needed all along. Expressing indifference is one of the best selling techniques around. Take a car dealer for instance. He'll almost never let you leave the lot with your dream car at your dream price. But imagine if you just walked away. They'd be beating down your door, begging you to take the car.

And lastly, pick your battles wisely. Odds are you'll resolve more of your conflicts if you have fewer. Is it worth your time and energies to fight with all your might? Maybe not. Would it be healthier to agree to disagree? Probably. Only you can make these choices and doing so before you go to battle can save everyone a lot of anguish.

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