Conflict Resolution Strategies
“Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness,
From my lips would flow,
The world should listen then, as I am listening now”.
— Percy Bysshe Shelley, To a Skylark, 1821
“If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.”
— Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own
I do not own (nor do I pretend to own) a corner in the market for truth. Nonetheless, here is the truth according to Fritz:
Authentic Listening is the First Step in Communication With Integrity
What is “authentic listening”?
Authentic listening occurs when you respond to the speaker in ways which indicate to him that you care about what he’s saying and give him every opportunity to complete his train of thought. Authentic and empathic listening are wrapped in the same cloak. The idea is to let the speaker know without a doubt that you are focusing your attention on his words and feelings with the specific intent to understand his point.
Learning to listen authentically will literally change your life. How, you say? Well, to begin with —
You will become more attractive to others and they, in turn, will be attracted to you
You will learn much about the human condition
You will glean important information about a person that others may miss
You will appear thoughtful and intelligent: it’s impossible to showcase your ignorance when your mouth is shut
You will be practicing self-control and self-discipline, which are always good things
Your will substantially improve your relationship with every person in your life, whether business, familial, or friends
You will be more confident and have more control of yourself in conflict settings
You will develop greater self esteem
How Do You Listen Authentically?
There are specific strategies that are regularly employed in authentic listening. Do not underestimate the simplicity, the significance and the excellence of these techniques.
1. Close your mouth. Authentic listening and talking are mutually exclusive.
2. Don’t predict or judge the outcome, or argue with the speaker mentally. Get out of your head and get into his.
3. Watch your body language: does your posture indicate you’re interested in the speaker? Are you maintaining eye contact with him? Are you nodding when appropriate, smiling or otherwise physically communicating your attention to what he is saying?
4. Ask questions when you do not understand something or need clarification.
5. Put on his shoes. Put yourself in the other person’s place mentally so that you can better relate to his point(s) of view.
6. Control your emotions. Better yet, leave them behind. Your worries, fears, problems and emotions prevent you from listening authentically.
7. Listen to what is not being said. When you are listening authentically, you have the wonderful opportunity to “fill in the blanks” in the speaker’s communication. Often times what is not stated by the speaker is more important than what he’s said.
8. Listen to how something is said. Inflection, intonation and strength of the speaker’s voice may tell you more about the speaker’s personality and values than mere words.
9. React to his ideas, not to him, specifically. This technique is especially helpful when you don’t particularly like the speaker. Remember, you don’t have to like someone to learn from them. But you cannot learn from them without listening to them authentically.
10. Be consistent. Practice these techniques in every communication. Ask the speaker if he felt that you had “heard” what he was trying to communicate.
The purpose of our company is to assist you in your quest to understand the nature of conflict.