Conflict happens, it just does sometimes. No two people think exactly the same way, nor do they perceive things in the same light. That’s when effective communication comes in to stop conflict before it gets out of control, and most importantly, before it happens. There are many reasons why conflict occurs, from personality types to non-verbal behavior, but there are ways to counteract these things with solid communication practices.
Read on to learn how to overcome conflicts with some easy to implement communication tips.
- Look for non-verbal cues in body language. If you’ve ever encountered a conflict with someone, then you know the first clue is usually a red face, wide eyes, flared nostrils, crossed arms, clenched fists, tight lips, and other physical signs. As you communicate, learn to note the signs of possible upset early on, and then take steps to calm things down before they get out of hand. Pay attention to your own non-verbal behavior too.
- Address conflict directly before it escalates. When dealing with others, it;s always better to address a possible conflicting opinion in a respectful way, before it gets out into the open and has a chance to affect others. Keep this private and handle in a one-on-one meeting in a non-threatening environment, Acknowledge the conflict and then let the other person share his or her side of things, to come up with a compromise that works for all.
- Use open statements with others. People need to be able to share their thoughts and feelings, so when talking with others, allow them a chance to speak freely by using open-ended statements and questions. This will give others the opportunity to share valuable input, which will help dispell any misconceptions or assumptions.
- Learn to be a good listener. To be a good communicator means to be an even better listener. Oftentimes when people get into conflicts, it’s because they are not getting the opportunity to be heard. As you are interacting with people, pay close attention to how well you listen and absorb what the other person is saying on an average basis. You will learn more by listening than by talking, and you will help to avoid any conflicts that can rise up when people are not heard fully.
- Avoid put downs or attacking statements. At all costs, avoid using mocking, sarcastic or put-down statements when communicating with others, especially about other people who are not present. Instead, use every communication as an opportunity to say something positive or complimentary about another person. This can create reporte with others and help to cut down on future conflicts.
- Keep things clear and to the point. In all your communications. This is perhaps one of the best ways to use effective communication to reduce conflict in any situation. When you say something in a clear and concise manner, you eliminate assumptions and misinformation from the start. Try using complimentary communication mediums to further clarify your messages – such as emails followed by a phone call. Over time of being more clear, you will begin to note less conflict and more cooperation.
Want to discover more ways to be an effective communicator and eliminate conflict from affecting your teams? Consider the advantages of attending a Dale Carnegie course that can help improve your interpersonal relationships and communication efforts.