Skills to handle conflict

The majority of conflict is caused by misunderstanding, Conflict resolution is all about communication. Over half of all communication is nonverbal or body language so knowing how to utilise all of your communication skills will assist you when dealing with conflict.


A common mistake many people make in conflict resolution is that they think they have to beat the other person. They believe they have to win and the other person has to lose. Your objective should be to come to a solution that benefits, even if only in part, both of you.


Your facial expressions indicate to the other person what you’re thinking. Show them you are calm and relaxed, in control of your emotions. Relax all the muscles around your eyes and forehead. Gently close your mouth and keep your jaw loose by not clenching your teeth.


Use open hand gestures, showing the other person you are open to interaction with them. Keep your arms uncrossed and chest exposed. This lets them know you are not closed off in any way. Keep enough eye contact to show interest, but not too much, otherwise you will come across as aggressive and controlling. A good rule is to match the amount of eye contact they are giving you.


Show genuine interest in what they are saying, nodding your head to indicate you understand, even if you don’t agree. Showing interest and understanding will calm the other person and make them more receptive to your suggestions and point of view.


And use your body position to let them know you have a vested interest in achieving a mutually beneficial outcome. Lean in slightly towards them and make sure your shoulders and feet are both facing the other person. This shows both interest and respect on your part.



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