In 2017 Annual Conference

Blogger: Erin Knothe, Dick Pope/Polk County Chapter

Adam Brooks, Ph.D., led a breakout session discussing conflict resolution and negotiation.

People don’t leave jobs, they leave other people

Unfortunately, poor conflict resolution is widely accepted by our culture. Don’t we just know how to communicate? Not necessarily. Just because we talk all the time doesn’t equate to conflict resolution.

We communicate to share something meaningful

Communication is a dialogue. Your job isn’t done once a message is delivered. How do you know how the message is received? And how about the feedback?

Despite all of our various channels to communicate, people have more fear to communicate than ever before. The fear isn’t that we’re afraid to communicate poorly. Instead, we may be afraid to communicate well. When you communicate well, you can be influential in your workplace, which also means you gain more responsibility for the actions and results around you.

Shed your excessive “need to be you”

In negotiation or conflict resolution, separate the person from the problem; behaviors are not character traits but possibilities for improvements.

Goals of Conflict Resolution
  1. Consider the situation
    1. Shift the self – Adopt “other” orientation instead of a competitive orientation. What are the shared interests we have? When you create a shared solution, you create a relationship that can help in the future. Also, be sure to diagnose the situation. Who are the key players?
    2. Process orientation – Prioritize outcomes over points. Keep your ego out of the situation. Shift your mindset from either/or (you’re either with us or you’re against us) to both/and.
    3. BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement) – If you can’t negotiate a solution, what is going to happen? What is the minimum and maximum you’re willing to accept? For example, if you’re asking your boss for a raise, your BATNA is much higher if you already have two job offers with higher salaries. If your boss doesn’t give you the raise, you can easily leave to accept another job.
  2. Active Listening
    1. Hearing is very different from listening
      1. 7 deadly sins of not listening:
        1. Lack of interest
        2. Distracting delivery
        3. Arrogance and disrespect
        4. Ambushing
        5. Pre-programmed emotional response
        6. Listen for facts
        7. Faking attention
      2. 4 Steps to Active Listening:
        1. Receive
        2. Understand
        3. Evaluate
        4. Respond
      3. 70% to 96% of a message’s meaning is comprised from nonverbal communication
  3. Create Structure and focus on creating equity. If everyone feels like they can speak and be heard, they’ll have more buy-in to a solution.

When you’re having conflict, stop and think. Are we getting where we need to be? What do we want out of this?

STATE MethodHow do you effectively work through conflict? Try using the STATE method:

Start with facts.
Tell your story.
Ask for other’s points.
Talk tentatively. – Use “we” language
Encourage alternatives.

As uncertainty increases, solutions are less creative. Do your best to create a safe, comfortable place for discussion to reach a positive, helpful solution.

avatar for Adam Sharples Brooks, Ph.D

Adam Sharples Brooks, Ph.D

University of Alabama
Assistant Director of Public Speaking
Dr. Adam Sharples Brooks is a nationally renowned public speaker with a Ph.D. in Communication and Information Sciences, an M.A. in Communication Studies, and a background in Public Relations. As the current Assistant Director of the Public Speaking Program at The University of Alabama, Brooks oversees The Speaking Studio with a mission to help clients clarify and craft effective messages, cultivate dynamic delivery, and calm public speaking anxiety. Over the course of his career, Brooks has coached numerous public speakers to national acclaim and is an expert in the areas of diversity and communication, public speaking delivery, conflict resolution, popular culture and mass communication.
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