The skill for today, choose one topic, may seem trite, but in fact this process is one of the most effective. After being polite and respectful enough to set an appropriate time and place to have a discussion, choosing to discuss only one topic at a time is vital to success in conflict resolution.
Most discussions go awry because one partner is talking about this and the other is talking about that…at the same time! Being polite and respectful requires taking turns: “Let’s discuss your topic right now, and next week we can discuss mine.” Again, I realize that these seem simple, but I am amazed at how easy it is to take each other for granted and attempt to use her or him instead of joining.
After deciding whose topic will be used, take time to clarify the topic: Be specific. This is helped by daily sharing with the other in a polite, respectful way your perspective. Conflict is a result of differing points of view and so it is important that both are presented. I’ll post more on the daily sharing aspect of communication in my next series.
In conclusion for today: Begin the conflict resolution process by agreeing to be polite and respectful. Set an appropriate time and choose a comfortable place for the discussion. Then choose one topic for discussion. Write this topic down in order to clarify the subject of discussion. The writing helps to keep your discussion on track.
We’ll discuss the next skill tomorrow.
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