Interpersonal Communications

  Collaborative Conflict Resolution
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TABLE 11.3 Collaborative Conflict Resolution Skills
Skill Characterization Example
Metacommunication Communication about communication (content level of meaning) and relationships (relational level of meaning) "Let's brainstorm possible ways to meet both your goals and my goals without evaluating the suggestions at this point."
Perception checking A description of sense data, an interpretation (perception) of the sense data, and a request for feedback "I see that you're not smiling and not talking much. Maybe you don't believe this collaborative approach will work, or maybe you find it hard to generate options. Is it one of these?"
Face-saving skills Overlooking a face- threatening act; using humor; offering an apology; communicating an explanation; engaging in physical remediation "I'm sorry I yelled a while back; I shouldn't have lost my temper."
Nondefensive response to criticism Validate a critic's thoughts and feelings even if we disagree with the criticism; e.g., asking open-ended questions; guessing about specifics; agreeing with the truth; agreeing to disagree "I see how you might think that I only want to win this argument; however, that's not the case. I just want my
needs taken seriously."
Expressing emotions Accept responsibility and own feelings by combining emotion words with a description of sense data "I get angry when you tell me that I'm 'wrong.'''
Language clarity skills Owning thoughts, indexing, and dating information "In my opinion, we can achieve your goals without having to move."
Nonverbal immediacy skills Function to enhance liking, closeness, approachability, and positive evaluations (e.g., smiling, nodding, making eye contact, forward leaning and direct body orientation, variety in pitch, patting a shoulder, immediate conversational responses) Individuals in conflict will refrain from engaging in the following behaviors:
frowning, avoiding eye contact, using adaptors, leaning backwards, sounding
aggressive or submissive, applying force when touching, and using silence
in conversation.
Skills of effective conversationalists Asking questions, responding to and providing free information, crediting sources, maintaining conversational
coherence, engaging in appropriate turn taking, summarizing the main ideas
"Your comment just reminded me of something that may help us resolve this
conflict. Have you finished what you want to say? I'd like to tell you about my thoughts."
Active listening and confirming responses Prompting and questioning, reassuring and expressing concern, analyzing and advising, judging (offering constructive criticism), paraphrasing thoughts and feelings "Let me see if I understand you correctly: you feel frustrated because you want to eliminate clutter in the house but don't want get rid of any possessions. Am I right?"
Assertiveness skills Standing up for our beliefs, rights, and needs while respecting the beliefs, rights, and needs of others, e.g., owning thoughts and feelings; using metacommunication;
expressing empathic asstrtion; using "the broken record"; and boundary-setting responses to the communication of prejudice
"I know that you've had a rough day and that you're tired and angry, but I don't want you to take it out on me. I'll talk to you when you stop yelling at me."
Relationship maintenance skills For example, positivity (being cheerful, avoiding criticism, expressing appreciation) "I think we can solve this problem together. I appreciate you for working with me."

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