Monday, May 3, 2010

Oh, I See...O I C

Meeting with a client this morning got my creative juices flowing. There's so much information out there and sometimes it is hard to remember tips / tricks unless you have an acronym. Sometimes when we have an 'aha' moment and something clicks for us we say "Oh...I see." so, between these two things I have a simply acronym to help you remember ways to engage with someone when there is conflict:

O (be objective)
(be inquisitive)
(be compassionate)

When there is conflict and we recognize how our body is responding we can then identify how we are feeling and completely change our response and the dynamic of the interaction. You know that feeling you get when someone confronts you or engages in a conflict? That tight throat, scowling brow, clenched teeth, tight shoulders, fast heart beat, etc... Those are physiological symptoms that tell you to prepare for 'battle' (fight or flight). If you can catch yourself when those visceral feelings kick in and divert yourself, you will minimize the conflict, come to a faster resolution and feel better about the interaction.

When you first feel those physiological indicators put a name to it. Anger, defensiveness, anxiety, fear, protectiveness, etc. By simply acknowledging this you are giving yourself a voice and it will help you with being compassionate. Being OBJECTIVE means stepping out of yourself on some level. How you become objective is by identifying your emotion.

At that point ask questions. Being INQUISITIVE helps you understand where the person is coming from and what they want. You can actually cut the interaction in half by asking "what do we want to get out of this in the end." You can ask or reflect it back when you find yourself feeling those physiological cues again because that may be a sign that the interaction is getting off track.

When you know what you're feeling, can identify it and can ask questions you are then able to be COMPASSIONATE. This means you can say things like; "You must be really frustrated.", "You seem really passionate about this.", "You seem really excited.", "You seem really angry." Often people will tell you "no, I feel...." or "yes!" Either way you have information to understand that this nasty conversation really isn't 'about you' even though you may play a part. Have compassion and reflecting the emotion you see or how you are feeling as if it is their feeling also minimizes the escalation.

Try it. It's important that when you commit to doing this that you recognize that you are retraining yourself and your thought processes so it won't be perfect. It takes time, I still have to correct myself.

Also, the other person may need to have that contention and may be really thrown off or feel like your attempts are just because you are acquiescing. The reality is, you've just learned a new way to be in conflict that doesn't feel so icky.