Finding Common Ground With Difficult People

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Finding Common Ground With Difficult People

Encourager-In-Chief: December 1st, 2021

The first time I presented the Conquering Conflicts with Difficult People seminar, I asked people to describe how they see a conflict. Among the responses were chewing ground glass, root canal, and nails on a blackboard. I must admit, I was surprised by the responses because I don’t see conflict the same way. Most people avoid conflicts like the plague. However, I’ve always thought of conflict as an opportunity for deepening a relationship gaining a clearer understanding. With that in mind, let’s look at some tips for improving your relationships by learning how to address conflicts.

First, express a sincere interest in understanding the other person’s point of view. Once your counterpart understands that you are not out to prove that you’re right, you will greatly improve the chances of opening up the dialogue. Next, offer an olive branch in the way of a concession. In other words, acknowledge some value in the other person. You might say something like, “You are somebody for whom I have a great deal of respect and I would very much like to see if we can resolve this disagreement.” It’s hard for people to keep attacking you after you’ve disarmed them.

Side view unhappy sorrowful African American couple sitting on bed back to back after having argument

Third, allow the other person to express his or her feelings or intentions. Intentions direct our actions. The more you understand what is driving the other person to his or her behavior, the easier it will be to reach an understanding. As the late Stephen Covey said, “Seek first to understand and then to be understood.”

Fourth, look for common ground. Find something upon which both of you agree and start to repair the relationship. You may find that you have more points in common than differences. Fifth, invite the other party to find a solution by offering a challenge. You might say, “I can’t think of any disagreement that you and I working together couldn’t solve. Can you?” You’d be surprised how effective these words can be in getting someone else to look for a solution.

Finally, no matter what happens, always be gracious. Even if you don’t reach an immediate resolution, leave on better terms than you started. After all, tomorrow is another day.

Let me hear from you .

An apology is the superglue of life. It can repair just about anything
- Lynn Johnson

This excerpt is taken from the Conquering Conflicts with Difficult People seminar. I encourage you to click here to register for the 2022 24th Season Opening seminar, Conquering Conflicts with Difficult People on Thursday, January 20, 2022 from 9 AM to 12 noon Eastern Standard Time at Melhorn Manor in Mount Joy, PA. This event will also be available through live streaming.

Communication Excellence II: Conquering Conflicts With Difficult People


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