You might be thinking to yourself; conflict resolution strategies must include speaking? Without saying anything, impossible? I am not saying between the beginning and end of the conflict, there will be no words, but in fact, those words are the least critical part of conflict resolution. These strategies apply whether you are using them in the corporate world, as a parent, or with your loved ones. In this post, I will be providing 3 Conflict Resolution Strategies that do not require you to say anything. If you apply them, you will notice a dramatic difference in your ability to reach a win-win-win result.
Why is Conflict Resolution So Important?
In my upcoming book titled, “DISARM DAILY CONFLICT – Your Life Depends on It,” I discuss how at the one extreme, people are literally dying over some of the most seemingly insignificant issues. Yes, good people engaging in conflict over road rage, accusations, mistaken identity, and many more who, in a moment, lose control of their emotions to find themselves taking actions they regret for a lifetime. Every one of us encounters conflict in some form daily, and with a few conflict resolution strategies, the outcomes could be much different. So, what are these 3 critical conflict resolution strategies you can implement without saying anything?
1. Do Not Speak, Listen!
Do not speak? How am I supposed to resolve a conflict without speaking? Again, the words will come, but far too often, the words come out immediately and with little thought. In fact, in most conflicts, the first words people say, make the situation worse. Take a typical scenario, for example, where someone is accusing of taking their parking spot. They begin yelling or gesturing at you from their car, but immediately you start yelling back that you were there first. Haven’t we all done that before? So, both are exchanging grade one level insults demanding the other give up the spot. Neither person is listening to the other, leaving little to no chance of resolution. This post is not going to be about taking the conflict to the final decision, but how to begin this conflict resolution strategy. I teach people to first, not speak, but listen to the other person completely. While tempted to cut them off, and force your opinion, do not do that. Look at them and listen with the reasonable goal of hearing them. First, hear their explanation then respond from there. Anything else will be challenging to them and more likely to escalate the conflict.
2. Resist Physical Intimidation
Just Google or YouTube fights, and what do you see? You will see two people standing toe to toe, chests bumping with both parties attempting to intimidate the other. This conflict resolution strategy has nothing to do with resolution or strategy if you are wanting to de-escalate the conflict. Intimidation brings escalation. Sure, some people will intimidate very effectively, causing the other person to back down, but that has nothing to do with the win-win-win goal I write about in my book. And for those who are sometimes successful with the strategy of intimidation, many will eventually meet someone who it does not work with, leaving them on uncommon ground. In any conflict, it is strategic to adopt a passive, negotiating stance, not a fighting stance. First, by having your hands up and open with the facial expressions of genuinely looking for resolution. This accomplishes a few things; you do not appear threatening or challenging. Also, if there are witnesses who cannot hear the words exchanged, only the body language, it may be what saves you if the conflict escalates, requiring the police or the law to get involved. Any potential witnesses will express what they saw and if you were appearing to resolve. At the same time, the other was aggressive in their body language, which will be valuable to you.
3. Maintain Your Distance
This was referred to in the previous one, but it is essential in any conflict to maintain a safe distance. What is a safe distance? It depends on where the conflict is taking place. Still, generally, you want to be far enough away so the person can’t reach out and touch you as that touch might be a punch or any other strike if it escalates due to theirs or both your reactions at the initial stages of the conflict. By maintaining a distance outside of a stretched-out arm, it allows you to see their full-body, including all ten fingers. If you are too close and cannot see their full body, you have a limited chance of reacting if they aim to strike or access a weapon. Close proximity is not conducive to effective verbal de-escalation. An optimal conflict resolution strategy will have both parties at a safe distance exchanging intelligent dialogue with the sole goal to end the conflict with no harm coming to either party.
The primary goal in any conflict, whether seemingly low level to the most extreme, should be to get home to our loved ones. And while the 3 conflict resolution strategies I provided are brief, they are invaluable and just as, if not, more important than the words you will use.
The launch of my new book, “DISARM DAILY CONFLICT – Your Life Depends on It,” will be available in the next month. Subscribe to this website www.safe101.education for the latest news on the launch or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the release. I also encourage you to send me your questions.
Managing Director, SAFE International