EnglishMarch 21, 20230

Entering a conflict discussion with more composure

As a mediator, I often experience how difficult it can be for people to have conflictual conversations. The reasons for this are manifold and can vary from case to case. In the following I would like to point out some of the most common obstacles and give some tips on how to prepare for this special situation.

Obstacles on the way to a conflict meeting


Conflicts are often accompanied by strong emotions, such as anger, sadness or

frustration. These emotions can make clear communication difficult. Actually, you go into a conversation calmly and want to discuss the issues objectively. But then emotions come into play and the conversation threatens to slip away.

Tip: Try to prepare yourself for your own emotions ahead of the conversation. Become aware of whether you are fundamentally avoid difficult conversations or are you someone who enjoys having them?

Different opinions

Conflicts usually arise because of differing opinions or points of view. There are often different truths and that is precisely why it is difficult to find a common denominator and a solution that both parties can agree on.

Tip: Prepare yourself for the conversation by clearly defining your own position and your main goal. Think about which points are important to you. Try to understand the other person’s position by actively listening and asking questions. Imagine you are sitting on the same side of the table and not across from each other.

Lack of communication

Conflicts usually also arise due to a lack of unclear communication. Misunderstandings and unfulfilled expectations can quickly lead to frustration and anger.

Tip: Make sure that you have all the necessary information and are aware of your own expectations. Make sure you communicate clearly and ask precise questions to avoid misunderstandings.

Power imbalance

In some conflict discussions there is an imbalance of power between the parties which can make it difficult to find a fair solution for both sides.

Tip: Try to take the power imbalance into account and make sure that you both have the opportunity to express your perspectives and articulate your needs.

Preparation as part of a successful conflict conversation

Good preparation is the key to a successful difficult conversation. By preparing yourself for your own emotions clearly, defining your position, and focusing on precise communication, you can help to make the conversation effective and successful.

However, there are situations in which you will not get anywhere, even if you follow the tips above. Some problems are too complicated or too emotional to resolve between two people. It can also happen that the power imbalance is too much of a disruptive factor. As a mediator I can help the conflict parties to find a fair solution by taking a neutral position and making sure that both parties are heard, and have the opportunity to articulate their needs. Thus creating a foundation for a mutually agreed solution.



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