We’ll call this the George Takei method.
One question, one minute. Pretty please?
Use the psychology of agreement to start your conversation right.
It’s all about frame of reference.
The best kind of experiment.
“At what point do I get to be the one to talk?”
Welcome to Do-Land.
For once, labels are a good thing.
Thank you, Universe.
Prevent your natural negativity bias from hijacking your smarts.
Fallback criteria save the day. Again.
Another cognitive trap just waiting to spring on you.
Listening is not just waiting to talk.
It’ll steer you wrong.
That damn gravity.
Find a quiet spot for two minutes.
Stop trying to wrangle people into things. It’s way too much work.
A soft start is just the ticket.
Use a centering question to get your balance back.
I blew my top and my friend surprised me.
Don’t fall for the sunk cost fallacy.
Don’t go it alone. Take these questions with you.
The signal sent may not be the signal received.
Less is more.
When your mouth gets ahead of good judgment.
Psst: It’s not about “resolution.”
Move away from that keyboard.
It’s hard to get fresh perspective about our situation or the other person when we’re trapped inside a conflict. This simple question is excellent for tempering our certainty, engaging our curiosity, and sparking a shift in perspective when we need it most.
Love is blind.
Sit up straight. You’re missing something.
Access your good skills when you need them most.
Some debates, arguments, and bickering go on and on, without leading anywhere (except to more frustration). If you find yourself in this kind of debate, or are trying to stop others caught in one, here’s a single question that’s almost magical in its power to help.
No DeLorean needed.
What a good use of 10 minutes.
There’s a space that changes form and scale as we navigate our personal and business relationships. It’s the space between us, narrowing and softening when things are going well, widening and hardening in times of tension. The quality of our relationships, the degree of our happiness, and the success of our solutions are all influenced by The Space Between.
Stop trying to persuade them out of their resistance.
One reason apologies feel hard to offer is that they’re colored by fear — fear of feeling shame, fear of feeling judged, fear of offering an olive branch that is not returned. To apologize, we must find ways to anticipate not only what will go wrong, but what also what could go right.
What would Bart Millar do?
There seem to be two routes to empathy. One will tax you more.
Skills alone will only get you so far.
Just a trip down memory lane.
SO much better than well-meaning reassurance.
Learn from my pathetic post-grad school salary negotiation.
What is that bump under the rug?
We seek out allies when we’re in conflict because allies make us feel strong and right and reasonable. But in trying to be helpful, our allies may actually help perpetuate the conflict by boosting our certainty. When we’re being tested by a conflict, what we want isn’t an ally, it’s a loving provocateur.
Anger is a signal, not a defect.
Being able to say no is essential for good day-to-day negotiating. Yet it can evoke anxiety about appearing obstructive, unkind, or unhelpful. If you want a way to keep yourself from saying yes when you really do need to say no, pack this research-supported technique in your toolkit.
Not all disagreements require long talks to resolve them sufficiently. Sometimes you can use a pre-agreed principle to get them done and get on with your day. Here are two worth considering for your workplace team or family.
I read voraciously, a pile of books and articles monthly. Many are interesting and informative, but a few stand out because they influenced my thinking or behavior in a significant way. As I join others in looking back at 2016, here are the standouts that stuck with me and that I’ve most frequently mentioned to others.
Questions are your stock-in-trade.
When we deliver or receive information in a totalizing way, we make a difficult conversation needlessly more difficult. Here’s how to resist this type of all-or-nothing thinking and take some of the pain out of disagreements and negative feedback.
Conflict in personal, professional and business relationships leaves permanent cracks and breaks behind. What if, instead of trying to ignore or hide the damage, we revered it, understanding that “better than new” is more valuable than “good as new”?
When friction enters a working relationship, sometimes the best path through isn’t to dissect it and talk about it. Sometimes the best path through is an indirect one — ask for a favor from them. Just like Ben Franklin suggested.
Strengthening your conflict resolution chops isn’t about learning a new skill and then trying to use it in your most difficult conversations. Just as you wouldn’t start running and try a marathon the following week, acquiring more successful conflict resolution habits is about a slow, steady build. Start with 30-second chunks.
Bickering, an argument about trivial matters, is one of those everyday bad habits that feeds the growth of destructive conflict in a relationship. When you teach yourself how to stop getting sucked into bickering, you give yourself and your relationship some fresh air. Here’s a short phrase that can help.
When you’re stuck on a problem or feeling angry, briefly distancing yourself psychologically from the current circumstances can give you emotional relief and actually help you solve the problem. Here are four simple and potent ways to gain psychological distance (and help others do the same) when you’re spinning your wheels in a conflict conversation.
One of my summer projects has been sorting past articles by conflict resolution skill, since I get so many questions about specific skills. I’ve just completed the next two on the list: Starting a difficult conversation and confronting.
When I wanted to curb my habit of interrupting my husband, I turned to an old rubber band trick for practicing the replacement behavior enough to make it stick. Here are the simple instructions and some uses.
A dispute is not the same as a conflict. Mediation is different from facilitation. I’ve had repeated requests for the language I use to describe and define common conflict resolution terms like these, so here’s the language I use and a PDF download suitable for printing.
Whakawhanaungatanga is a Māori process for establishing relationships and connection. I explore whakawhanaungatanga with New Zealanders Hilary Unwin and Pereri Hathaway in this audio interview.
There are some things I want to say about mediation with me, things I hope you’ll ponder before we gather, things I hope will guide you as we talk. I may mention them a time or two during our time together.
Even after a dispute is resolved, conflict and tension can linger. Here’s how to find out what is stopping someone from letting go and moving on after conflict.
What makes negative feedback palatable and what makes it harder to digest? In my public life as a mediator, author, speaker and blogger, it comes down to this: The kindness of the delivery.
Design thinking is helping designers, engineers, and entrepreneurs solve problems more successfully and develop better products. Here’s how conflict resolvers can use one of design thinking’s most powerful steps to achieve better outcomes.
It’s tempting to feel triumphant when we successfully back our nemesis into a figurative corner. But it’s ill-advised triumph. Here are ways to address and prevent cornering in your own and others’ conflicts.
Memory doesn’t exist to help us perfectly recall things in our lives. It’s there to help us survive. And to do its job properly, memory must evolve. Here’s a quick recap of the ways memory is flawed and why arguing about the accuracy of memories is like running on a gerbil wheel and expecting to get somewhere new.