Techniques to diffuse a conflict

Posted on: February 18, 2009

j0316768If you are heading towards conflict, you may feel a sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach. Many people feel this way when they know that something is going to evolve into conflict – you are far from alone. The best way to deal with conflict that is entering in your life it so diffuse it.  How do you do that?

Follow these techniques to diffuse potential conflict:

Identify pending conflict. Learn to recognize stilted communication and hostile behavior before it escalates. Conflict is often like a boiling pot. It starts out simmering, but then, if the heat stays on, it turns into a full boil. If left covered up, the water will run all over the stove and make a mess. Conflict is something of the same. You don’t want it to run all over the stove, so nip it in the bud

Communicate in a positive manner. Using “I” statements, you should talk to the person with whom you are having the conflict and, without making accusatory remarks, tell them how you feel. You can say something like “I feel disrespected when you get upset and leave the room in the midst of a conversation because I want to have resolution right at that time. I need to have closure to a conversation so that we can move on with our day.” Instead of saying: “You need to stop walking out of the room and listen to what I have to say when we are talking”. This is much better and more positive than saying “You seem to have a problem with me.” The first example uses “I” statements and shifts everything to you and your feelings. The second statement is offensive and will most likely put the other person on the defensive and escalate the conflict.

Look for a compromise. Is this something that impedes on your core values or is it something that can be eliminated? Most conflicts start over a trivial matter that can be eliminated if the parties agree to communicate. Seek ways to communicate and possibly compromise so that the conflict can be avoided.

Communicate with the other person using positive communication skills. Stop the conflict cold by addressing it through this type of communication. Because people would rather not address conflict, or pretend that it doesn’t exist, they end up finding more conflict in their lives. When you address the underlying problem directly and in an
emotionally competent manner, you are doing what you can to head off the conflict.


1 Response to "Techniques to diffuse a conflict"

Hi Carlos, I liked the part especially about using I statements. As simple as using “I” instead of “you” is, it has the capacity to make a massive difference in affecting how the message is received by the other person. In addition, it capitalises on the old Biblical advice about how a soft answer turns away wrath.

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