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Our blog about communicating throughout conflict

The Truth About Interruptions...and Dogs

When I get on the phone with a friend whom I haven't talked with in a while, we rarely finish a story or discussion without having taken a few "detours." It's almost like word association, where a word or name comes up and the other person immediately cuts in, interrupts, with a story.

That's okay when we're just catching up. Then, we don't always have to finish. And if we really do want to finish what we were saying, we can come back to it. But that isn't always the case in professional conversations or when there is disagreement.

When there is a conflict where mediators, attorneys, or police become involved or a professional conversation or disagreement , there's usually something at stake. People are often outcome-focused then. So, when they're interrupted, it frustrates their goal. It also annoys them because they don't feel heard or respected.

When we don't feel heard or respected, we tend to repeat ourselves and talk louder. We may even talk faster in an effort to not be...

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Haters're Gonna LOVE...or at Least Respect

Have you or a client received a negative comment on social media? A lot of people are under the belief that "haters' gonna hate," and therefore attempt to ignore or block them. But is that really the best idea?

If the person isn't already a client, ignoring may be easy. But easy isn't always the best response. Sooner or later, a client will be the hater. And then what do you do? Regardless, a professional response may be the best client relations strategy.

Ignoring or blocking someone is still a statement. A decision not to act is still time and energy spent making the decision. Therefore, it's still an action. And, from what I've seen, most people will end up rehashing it anyway, and may even run it by people. Worse, it's an action based on fear, anger, or other emotions that may not be resourceful. So, the people who say, "Don't waste energy on the haters" may be steering people off course by that recommendation.

And, by ignoring or blocking, you may be missing out on a great...

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4 Reasons Why Your "Opponent" May Be Your Most Effective Teammate

I don't know about you, but I find that working against people doesn't really get me where I want to go. It takes time, energy, and focus away from what I want to achieve, and it also doesn't help others help me.

Think about it for a second. If someone appears to you to be a pain, to where you want to just do something to get them out of your hair and off your back, could that be a good person to work with toward solving their problem? I mean wouldn't it be better to have them on your team, to collaborate, than to meet them in a dark alley? (Okay, probably on the phone or in your face, but you get the point.)

And then there's this...Can you really solve their problem without them? No. You need them to tell you what the problem is and what they will accept; you need them to sign off. And if you wind up in some of the situations I have been in, you may also find that you need them to negotiate with you and recognize that what they really want/need is different than what they asked for.

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Beyond De-escalation™ is Scheduled to Launch in November!

De-escalation is something you may not need daily, but it may still be worth learning. Some de-escalation skills can be used regularly for more effective communication in many everyday occasions. And that's Beyond De-escalation™ is about.

Our de-escalation system, scheduled to be available on November 9, 2016, features an acronym for easy recall and some techniques and strategies you may use daily in the course of your regular practice. In fact, this de-escalation system was developed by Joyce after identifying the pattern for what worked so well in situations involving hostages and hostility, and most of the strategies were ones she used regularly.

Joyce has successfully de-escalated high emotions in a number of situations, and each time she drew from her eclectic experience. She draws from training and experience in legislative advocacy, mental health first aid, law, and coaching, to name a few of the fields Beyond De-escalation™ touches on. But you don't have to go...

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2 Things That Build Strength among Leaders (aka "Why Violence Doesn't Work")

Ronald Reagan said, "There's only one way you can have peace - surrender." He went on to say there are only two options: fight or surrender. But we really don't live in a black and white world, at least when it comes to homes, schools, and offices, and that's an important point to understand when it comes to effective communication.

I can passionately stand up and fight for what I believe in from a state of peace.

I can listen to other opinions and start the conversation from there, staying curious about opposing positions, and at the same time, comparing them with my views.

I can learn from and about the other person and use effective communication and emotional intelligence to express my views in a conversation that allows us to come together, to narrow the gap. And all the while, both parties can fully represent their views and satisfy them as well, better than either had imagined in some cases.

What I can't do if I really want or need something is be violent. Violence just makes...

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Why Labeling "Difficult People" May Stunt Your Growth

There are a lot of classes about how to "Deal with Difficult People," and I am concerned that will not lead to effective communication or de-escalation. Though I realize the title may be a marketing ploy, just the assumptions within the title raise doubts about how effective they can be. And if that is a ploy, then it points to the fact that other people are using that term to identify their problem.  But are there really "difficult people" in the world? I mean, is that all they are? Or is the use of that label allowing us to get lazy in our response, making our results mediocre at best, not to mention dangerous at worst?

Terms like that suggest other people are the only issue and we can only deal with the people, but that is far from the truth.  We can respond in the heat of the moment, and the best response will probably involve collaborating. In fact, that is the epitome of effective communication and de-escalation, not to mention staff communication. Before we can do...

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