Are you having some communication issues with a peer? Feeling misunderstood? Interested in trying to address the issue on your own? Read the following tips to help you prepare and navigate the conversation!
Prepare: Think about the problem and the factors leading up to, occurred during and followed the issue itself. Conflict is a two way street therefore think of both how you and the other person contributed.
Listen first: Try to understand their thoughts and ideas; ask clear questions.
Engage others: Try not to dominate the discussion. Ask what others think and encourage them to contribute to the discussion.
Be aware of body language: Try to eliminate eye rolling, crossed arms, clenched fists, sarcastic expressions or mimicking. Keep the tone and volume of your voice civil. If you need to stop the conversation, be gentle but direct.
Respectfully disagree: Take the time to consider what others say. Focus on merit of ideas before planning your response. Discuss ideas and issues, not people.
Avoid insults: Disagreements and criticisms are fine, but not name calling.
Speak for yourself: Use “I” statements. Rephrase or summarize what you hear the other person saying. Cite your evidence.
Be specific: As your formulate and articulate your concerns, provide specific examples.
Own what's yours: Personal accountability is important and involves admitting when you're wrong.
Take a timeout: When tempers flare and emotions rise, take a few minutes to breathe, compose yourself and return to the conversation. It may be helpful in some circumstances to return to the conversation at a later date.
Ask for help: If remaining respectful during conflict or resolving conflict on your own is an issue, consult with the Student Conflict and Dispute Management Program.