We try to be very prepared for negotiations. We carefully craft the language concerning how we’re going to introduce our ideas and desires. But sometimes, conflict situations come out of nowhere.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could say, “Wait, please give me some time to get prepared.” When it comes to negotiation and conflict, what should be our approach? I think the approach is: be prepared to be flexible.

Understand Others’ Perspectives

People can see things differently, each looking through their unique frame of reference based on experience and education. Sometimes just the way we see the problem, can the problem. The more aware we are of our attitudes and assumptions, and the influence of our past experiences, maybe the more flexible we can be with our approach. We can be patient and truly listen to others, be open to their perceptions and point of view, thereby seeing the bigger picture and having a more objective demeanor.

The good news is that if we take this approach, we can respond, rather than react, we have the freedom to choose how we interact. Through accurate self-awareness we can be fully engaged in open and honest communication.

How to Resolve Conflict

We can take the initiative and lead the discussion, or we can accept the role of active listening and minimize misunderstandings and miscommunication. If we are adequately prepared, we can be calm and recognize the ebb and flow of conflict resolution and negotiation, we won’t blame others for circumstances or conditions, and we can instead focus on both the relationship with the other party and the goal we seek.

If we are well-prepared and are willing to listen, we can make decisions based on values, rather than based on emotions. What may matter most is how we respond to what we experience during the conflict and critical conversations, not just what we introduce or suggest.

So, be prepared to respond rather than react. Be prepared to be calm rather than frustrated. Be prepared to listen rather than talk. Be prepared to be flexible rather than scripted.

When we are in conflict situations, and are trying to negotiate a reasonable outcome, we need to recognize that there are some things over which we have no real control and other things that we can do something about. Work on things you can do something about, like being prepared, patient, and thoughtful.

If your team or organization needs to get more out of their meetings, contact me at kit@welchlin.com or book an appointment online and I will provide a seminar that will make it happen.