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Communication Options in Conflict

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Relationship-Centered Orientation

In this response there is recognition of the needs of both parties in the conflict.  It is characterized by assertive communication behavior.  This means the ability to speak up for one’s interests and needs in a way that does not infringe on the other’s rights.  Assertive communication is characterized by willingness to listen, respect for different points of view, and open expression of desires and feelings.  Behaviors such as direct eye contact, confidence and competence are often evident.  You’ll see striving for mutual understanding.  In relationship centered communication the strategies are either compromise or collaboration.

Theory Application Tips

Effective communicators should follow the following guidelines in their conflict responses:

First consider the situation surrounding the conflict including the physical location. Is this the right place to address this issue?  Is this the best time for the conversation?

Identify your needs and goals

Try to anticipate the other person’s needs and perspective.

Think about what strategy is the best for this conflict.

Is a win-win solution possible in your view? Is the issue or the person important to you?  If so try a collaborative or compromise strategy.

If the issue is more important to the other person or you think you may have the wrong idea, then avoidance or accommodation may be the appropriate strategy.


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