In my book, YOU CAN WORK IT OUT! – Skills and Wisdom for Conflict Resolution in Relationships, specific proven-effective skills are provided that can help anyone communicate effectively and settle disagreements.
Having taught these skills for nearly twenty years, it has become clear that lots of folks have difficulty putting them into practice. One of the reasons is that they do not follow the three principles that follow. These must be kept in mind, when you are trying to work something out with another person.
1. In moments that matter, you must slow down the communication process. As you speak, take time to notice the other person’s reactions. More importantly, after the other person has spoken, take time before you respond.
2. Do not provoke a negative reaction from the other person. Such reactions include defensiveness, shutting down and lashing out with criticism or disrespect. The Rules of Engagement Questionnaire in Part 3 will help you identify your provocative behaviors.
3. Emotional self-regulation is essential. Do not attempt to handle a conflict or talk about an important matter when you are upset. At such times, conflict resolution skills are not usable.
Even when you are trying your best to resolve a conflict, you can be your own worst enemy, if you do not know about and adhere to these principles. As I’ve observed for all these years with countless clients, anyone can get off track and lose the ability, even temporarily, to communicate effectively.
Usually, this is due to damaging mental and emotional conditioning, which has taught us how NOT to communicate. The resulting self-defeating habits must be unlearned and new habits acquired. It’s almost like learning a new language: the language of relationship. And, like learning any other new skill, it takes lots of practice and determination.
The fact is that even bright, highly educated people can have a hard time learning to talk and listen with sensitivity and empathy. Fortunately, coaching is available, and many of my clients have benefited from it. If you, too, would like to enjoy those benefits, please feel free to reach out. My direct line is (219) 309-3928. It would be an honor to be of service to you.
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Thanks for reading!