Conflict resolution is one of the biggest skills lacking in today’s society. You only have to look at the comments section on any political article pro social media post to see that conflict management is something that a lot of people find difficult. Fortunately, trained mediators can give you tips to argue effectively, making sure that your viewpoint is heard and respected as part of any conflict.
There are two main sources of conflicts that most people experiences – personal relationships and at work. Looking at tips to argue effectively in a relationship will lead directly to tips to argue effectively at work, as conflict at work is underpinned by interpersonal relationships.
Conflict in a relationship mainly happens when one party has different expectations than the other person. These might start off small, such as whose turn it is to cook dinner or go food shopping, but can end up big, as to where the relationship is headed or whether to have children or not. Arguments arise because the feelings involved are very personal and each party has invested a lot in the relationship, so it can feel scary to have an issue that could potential end it. Here are some mediator-style tips to argue effectively in a relationship:
- Use “I” statements – it’s easy to blame the other person for what they’re doing wrong, but all this will do is antagonize them and ramp up the situation. Talking about how their actions affect your feelings will help you be heard; they can deny their actions but they can’t deny how you feel (and if they do, that’s a red flag on the relationship). By sharing your feelings, you’ll help move towards a mutually acceptable solution.
- Plan what you’re going to say – trouble in a relationship starts when people don’t talk about the small things that bother them. These can quickly snowball and become expected patterns of behavior where someone eventually snaps and shouts their problems. Planning the conversation when you’re calm allows you to really focus in on the problems, instead of reacting in the heat of the moment.
- Have an end goal in mind – finally, there is nothing worse than simply laying out a list of problems and blaming the other person for them. If you’re truly invested in making the relationship work, then you need to think about what you want to change, and whether that is a reasonable expectation for the other person to meet. Be ready for them to have thoughts and suggestions too as if you know there’s a problem, they will know it too.
Above all, the key to conflict resolution is to be willing to compromise. It can be hard to feel like you’re negotiating, but a relationship, either at home or at work, that is run solely on your terms will fail as soon as the next problem arises. Being able to find solutions that are reasonable and mutually acceptable is the key to solving any problems, which means that you need to be willing to lets the other person make suggestions as to how fix the problem.