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Interpersonal communication

Interpersonal communication is the process that we use to communicate our ideas, thoughts, and feelings to
another person. Our interpersonal communication skills are learned behaviors that can be improved through
knowledge, practice, feedback, and reflection. Interpersonal communication includes message sending and
message reception between two or more individuals. This can include all aspects of communication such as
listening, persuading, asserting, nonverbal communication, and more. Overall, interpersonal communication
can be conducted using both direct and indirect mediums of communication such as face-to-face interaction,
as well as computer-mediated-communication. Successful interpersonal communication assumes that both
the message senders and the message receivers will interpret and understand the messages being sent on a
level of understood meanings and implications.
Principles of Effective Interpersonal Communication:
With an awareness and understanding of the Principles ou can continue to learn to improve the
!ualit of and develop more effective interpersonal communication with"
our partners,
our parents,
our children,
our work colleagues,
our students
work meetings,
board meetings,
public meetings etc.
#ffective Interpersonal $ommunication can be achieved through conscious awareness of the
following Principles
1. That we treat each other with respect
So how does that help% It means we can put the energ we spend &demonising& others and
complaining about them to better use, like en'oing ourselves and being present for loved ones
instead of continuousl distracted b our difficulties with others.
2. That we do not interrupt one another
So how does that help% It means we find out that, b not interrupting others and focusing our
attention on what the sa, we become listened to ourselves a lot more( Our conversations become
more interesting, useful, worthwhile and sometimes even 'oful, instead of difficult, tiring, boring
or an)ious.
3. That we have the right to pass
So how does that help% It means that we can choose not to do something instead of feel we have to
or that we &should& when we don&t want to. It means acknowledging that tring to change others is
not onl not ver loving, but is also impossible. It means acknowledging that when others tr to
change us, it can feel ver uncomfortable.
It means taking responsibilit for our choices and actions - because no-one else can.
4. That we do not volunteer others
So how does that help% It means recognising the importance of valuing others& right to choose and
not to use our language in a wa that assumes we can choose for them.
. That we spea! onl" for ourselves #$e spea! in the %I%
& often called using %I% statements'
So how does that help% It means making more accurate statements with our communication -
instead of assuming we can speak for others, we onl speak for ourselves. This saves a lot of
unnecessar resentment and resistance towards us.
(. That we spea! )ut not too often or for too long
So how does that help% It means acknowledging that filling up &air time& in a conversation prevents
us from connecting with others through our communication. It means we gain the opportunit to
learn and be creative through hearing others& views about what we sa.
*. That we challenge the )ehaviour and not the person
So how does that help% It means that difficult situations can be &de-personalised& and therefore
become an opportunit for learning and creativit rather than a personal &battle&. It means using a
more effective approach to communicating, removing the unnecessar personal labels and
destructive comments. It means keeping a focus on the issue, allowing for a more creative response
to an difficult situation.
+. That we respect confidentialit"
So how does that help% It means generating a feeling of trust, safet and in some situations,
intimac through valuing that which is important to another, and acknowledging and respecting
their vulnerabilit in relation to an issue.
,. That it is o! to ma!e mista!es
So how does that help% It means acknowledging the fact that we are not robots and that mistakes are
opportunities for learning, connection and insight rather than opportunities to condemn another - as
if we are ourselves &perfect&. It means adopting a no-blame approach to difficult situations.
-ehavioral communication
*ehavioral $ommunication is a pschological construct that addresses people&s use of da-to-da
behaviors as a form of communication. Specificall, it refers to people&s tendenc to e)press
feelings, needs, and thoughts b means of indirect messages and behavioral impacts.
.onver)al communication
+onverbal communication is usuall understood as the process of communication through sending
and receiving wordless ,mostl visual- messages - i.e., language is not the onl source of
communication, there are other means also. .essages can be communicated through gestures and
touch ,/aptic communication-, b bod language or posture, b facial e)pression and ee contact.
.eaning can also be communicated through ob'ect or artifacts ,such as clothing, hairstles or
architecture-. Speech contains nonverbal elements known as paralanguage, including voice !ualit,
rate, pitch, volume, and speaking stle, as well as prosodic features such as rhthm, intonation and
stress. 0ance is also regarded as a form of Posture
Posture can be used to determine a participant1s degree of attention or involvement, the difference
in status between communicators, and the level of fondness a person has for the other
communicator.234 Studies investigating the impact of posture on interpersonal relationships suggest
that mirror-image congruent postures, where one person1s left side is parallel to the other person1s
right side, leads to favorable perception of communicators and positive speech5 a person who
displas a forward lean or a decrease in a backwards lean also signif positive sentiment during
communication.264 Posture is understood through such indicators as direction of lean, bod
orientation, arm position, and bod openness.
7 wink is a tpe of gesture.
7 gesture is a non-vocal bodil movement intended to e)press meaning. The ma be articulated
with the hands, arms or bod, and also include movements of the head, face and ees, such as
winking, nodding, or rolling ones& ees. The boundar between language and gesture, or verbal and
nonverbal communication, can be hard to identif.
7lthough the stud of gesture is still in its infanc, some broad categories of gestures have been
identified b researchers. The most familiar are the so-called emblems or !uotable gestures. These
are conventional, culture-specific gestures that can be used as replacement for words, such as the
hand-wave used in the 8S for 9hello9 and 9goodbe9. 7 single emblematic gesture can have a ver
different significance in different cultural conte)ts, ranging from complimentar to highl
offensive.2:4 ;or a list of emblematic gestures, see list of gestures.
7nother broad categor of gestures comprises those gestures used spontaneousl when we speak.
These gestures are closel coordinated with speech. The so-called beat gestures are used in
con'unction with speech and keep time with the rhthm of speech to emphasi<e certain words or
phrases. These tpes of gestures are integrall connected to speech and thought processes.2=>4
Other spontaneous gestures used when we speak are more contentful and ma echo or elaborate the
meaning of the co-occurring speech.;or e)ample, a gesture that depicts the act of throwing ma be
snchronous with the utterance, 9/e threw the ball right into the window.92=>4
?estural languages such as 7merican Sign @anguage and its regional siblings operate as complete
natural languages that are gestural in modalit. The should not be confused with finger spelling, in
which a set of emblematic gestures are used to represent a written alphabet.
?estures can also be categori<ed as either speech-independent or speech-related. Speech-
independent gestures are dependent upon culturall accepted interpretation and have a direct verbal
translation.2A4 7 wave hello or a peace sign are e)amples of speech-independent gestures. Speech
related gestures are used in parallel with verbal speech5 this form of nonverbal communication is
used to emphasi<e the message that is being communicated. Speech related gestures are intended to
provide supplemental information to a verbal message such as pointing to an ob'ect of discussion.
?estures such as .udra ,Sanskrit- encode sophisticated information accessible to initiates that are
priv to the subtlet of elements encoded in their tradition.
.onver)al communication.
0aptics: touching in communication
7 high five is an e)ample of communicative touch.
/aptics is the stud of touching as nonverbal communication. Touches that can be defined as
communication include handshakes, holding hands, kissing ,cheek, lips, hand-, back slapping, high
fives, a pat on the shoulder, and brushing an arm. Touching of oneself ma include licking, picking,
holding, and scratching.2A4 These behaviors are referred to as 9adapter9 or 9tells9 and ma send
messages that reveal the intentions or feelings of a communicator. The meaning conveed from
touch is highl dependent upon the conte)t of the situation, the relationship between
communicators, and the manner of touch.2B4
/umans communicate interpersonal closeness through a series of non-verbal actions known as
immediac behaviors. #)amples of immediac behaviors are" smiling, touching, open bod
positions, and ee contact. $ultures that displa these immediac behaviors are known to be high
contact cultures.
/aptic communication is the means b which people and other animals communicate via touching.
Touch is an e)tremel important sense for humans5 as well as providing information about surfaces
and te)tures it is a component of nonverbal communication in interpersonal relationships, and vital
in conveing phsical intimac. It can be both se)ual ,such as kissing- and platonic ,such as
hugging or tickling-.
Touch is the earliest sense to develop in the fetus. The development of an infant&s haptic senses and
how it relates to the development of the other senses such as vision has been the target of much
research. /uman babies have been observed to have enormous difficult surviving if the do not
possess a sense of touch, even if the retain sight and hearing. *abies who can perceive through
touch, even without sight and hearing, tend to fare much better. Touch can be thought of as a basic
sense in that most life forms have a response to being touched, while onl a subset have sight and
In chimpan<ees the sense of touch is highl developed. 7s newborns the see and hear poorl but
cling strongl to their mothers. /arr /arlow conducted a controversial stud involving rhesus
monkes and observed that monkes reared with a 9terr cloth mother9, a wire feeding apparatus
wrapped in softer terr cloth which provided a level of tactile stimulation and comfort, were
considerabl more emotionall stable as adults than those with a mere wire mother.,/arlow,=:3B-
Touching is treated differentl from one countr to another and sociall acceptable levels of
touching var from one culture to another ,Cemland, D>>:-. In the Thai culture, for e)ample,
touching someone&s head ma be thought rude. Cemland and Eones ,=::3- studied groups of people
communicating and found that in #ngland ,BF-, ;rance ,3F- and the +etherlands ,GF- touching
was rare compared to their Italian ,=GF- and ?reek ,=D.3F- sample.2:4
Striking, pushing, pulling, pinching, kicking, strangling and hand-to-hand fighting are forms of
touch in the conte)t of phsical abuse. In a sentence like 9I never touched himHher9 or 90on&t ou
dare to touch himHher9 the term touch ma be meant as euphemism for either phsical abuse or
se)ual touching. To &touch oneself& is a euphemism for masturbation.
The word touch has man other metaphorical uses. One can be emotionall touched, referring to an
action or ob'ect that evokes an emotional response. To sa 9I was touched b our letter9 implies
the reader felt a strong emotion when reading it. When used in this conte)t, being emotionall
9touched9 usuall does not include anger, disgust or other forms of emotional re'ection unless used
in a sarcastic manner.
Stoelt'e ,D>>I- wrote about how 7mericans are Jlosing touch1 with this important communication
skill. 0uring a stud conducted b 8niversit of .iami School of .edicine, Touch Cesearch
Institutes, 7merican children were said to be more aggressive than their ;rench counterparts while
plaing at a plaground. It was noted that ;rench women touched their children more.
E"e ga1e
The stud of the role of ees in nonverbal communication is sometimes referred to as 9oculesics9.
#e contact can indicate interest, attention, and involvement. Studies have found that people use
their ees to indicate their interest and with more than the fre!uentl recogni<ed actions of winking
and slight movement of the eebrows. #e contact is an event when two people look at each other&s
ees at the same time. It is a form of nonverbal communication and has a large influence on social
behavior. ;re!uenc and interpretation of ee contact var between cultures and species. #e
aversion is the avoidance of ee contact. #e contact and facial e)pressions provide important
social and emotional information. People, perhaps without consciousl doing so, probe each other&s
ees and faces for positive or negative mood signs.2B4 ?a<e comprises the actions of looking while
talking, looking while listening, amount of ga<e, and fre!uenc of glances, patterns of fi)ation,
pupil dilation, and blink rate.2=>4
Paralanguage: nonver)al cues of the voice
Paralanguage ,sometimes called vocalics- is the stud of nonverbal cues of the voice. Karious
acoustic properties of speech such as tone, pitch and accent, collectivel known as prosod, can all
give off nonverbal cues. Paralanguage ma change the meaning of words.
The linguist ?eorge @. Trager developed a classification sstem which consists of the voice set,
voice !ualities, and vocali<ation.
The voice set is the conte)t in which the speaker is speaking. This can include the situation, gender,
mood, age and a person&s culture.
The voice !ualities are volume, pitch, tempo, rhthm, articulation, resonance, nasalit, and accent.
The give each individual a uni!ue 9voice print9.
Kocali<ation consists of three subsections" characteri<ers, !ualifiers and segregates. $haracteri<ers
are emotions e)pressed while speaking, such as laughing, cring, and awning. 7 voice !ualifier is
the stle of delivering a message - for e)ample, elling 9/e stop that(9, as opposed to whispering
9/e stop that9. Kocal segregates such as 9uh-huh9 notif the speaker that the listener is listening.
;unctions of nonverbal communication"
#)press emotions
#)press interpersonal attitudes
To accompan speech in managing the cues of interaction between speakers and listeners
Self-presentation of one1s personalit
Cituals ,greetings-
The power of nonver)al communication and )od" language
+onverbal communication, or bod language, is a vital form of communication. When we interact
with others, we continuousl give and receive countless wordless signals. 7ll of our nonverbal
behaviorsLthe gestures we make, the wa we sit, how fast or how loud we talk, how close we
stand, how much ee contact we makeLsend strong messages.
The wa ou listen, look, move, and react tell the other person whether or not ou care and how
well ou1re listening. The nonverbal signals ou send either produce a sense of interest, trust, and
desire for connectionLor the generate disinterest, distrust, and confusion.
T"pes of nonver)al communication and )od" language
There are man different tpes of nonverbal communication. Together, the following nonverbal
signals and cues communicate our interest and investment in others.
2acial e3pressions
The human face is e)tremel e)pressive, able to e)press countless emotions without saing a word.
7nd unlike some forms of nonverbal communication, facial e)pressions are universal. The facial
e)pressions for happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and disgust are the same across cultures.
-od" movements and posture
$onsider how our perceptions of people are affected b the wa the sit, walk, stand up, or hold
their head. The wa ou move and carr ourself communicates a wealth of information to the
world. This tpe of nonverbal communication includes our posture, bearing, stance, and subtle
?estures are woven into the fabric of our dail lives. We wave, point, beckon, and use our hands
when we1re arguing or speaking animatedlLe)pressing ourselves with gestures often without
thinking. /owever, the meaning of gestures can be ver different across cultures and regions, so it1s
important to be careful to avoid misinterpretation.
E"e contact
Since the visual sense is dominant for most people, ee contact is an especiall important tpe of
nonverbal communication. The wa ou look at someone can communicate man things, including
interest, affection, hostilit, or attraction. #e contact is also important in maintaining the flow of
conversation and for gauging the other person1s response.
We communicate a great deal through touch. Think about the messages given b the following" a
firm handshake, a timid tap on the shoulder, a warm bear hug, a reassuring pat on the back, a
patroni<ing pat on the head, or a controlling grip on our arm.
/ave ou ever felt uncomfortable during a conversation because the other person was standing too
close and invading our space% We all have a need for phsical space, although that need differs
depending on the culture, the situation, and the closeness of the relationship. Mou can use phsical
space to communicate man different nonverbal messages, including signals of intimac,
aggression, dominance, or affection.
We communicate with our voices, even when we are not using words. +onverbal speech sounds
such as tone, pitch, volume, inflection, rhthm, and rate are important communication elements.
When we speak, other people NreadO our voices in addition to listening to our words. These
nonverbal speech sounds provide subtle but powerful clues into our true feelings and what we reall
mean. Think about how tone of voice, for e)ample, can indicate sarcasm, anger, affection, or
6sing )od" language and nonver)al communication successfull"
+onverbal communication is a rapidl flowing back-and-forth process. Successful nonverbal
communication depends on emotional self-awareness and an understanding of the cues ou1re
sending, along with the abilit to accuratel pick up on the cues others are sending ou. This
re!uires our full concentration and attention. If ou are planning what ou1re going to sa ne)t,
dadreaming, or thinking about something else, ou are almost certain to miss nonverbal cues and
other subtleties in the conversation. Mou need to sta focused on the moment-to-moment e)perience
in order to full understand what1s going on.
Tips for successful nonver)al communication:
Take a time out if ou1re feeling overwhelmed b stress. Stress compromises our abilit to
communicate. When ou1re stressed out, ou1re more likel to misread other people, send off
confusing or off-putting nonverbal signals, and lapse into unhealth knee-'erk patterns of behavior.
Take a moment to calm down before ou 'ump back into the conversation. Once ou1ve regained
our emotional e!uilibrium, ou1ll be better e!uipped to deal with the situation in a positive wa.
Pa attention to inconsistencies. +onverbal communication should reinforce what is being said. If
ou get the feeling that someone isn1t being honest or that something is Noff,O ou ma be picking
up on a mismatch between verbal and nonverbal cues. Is the person is saing one thing, and their
bod language something else% ;or e)ample, are the telling ou NesO while shaking their head
@ook at nonverbal communication signals as a group. 0on1t read too much into a single gesture or
nonverbal cue. $onsider all of the nonverbal signals ou are sending and receiving, from ee
contact to tone of voice and bod language. 7re our nonverbal cues consistentLor inconsistentL
with what ou are tring to communicate%
7s ou watch or listen to the recordings, ask ourself the following !uestions"
Evaluating "our nonver)al communication s!ills
E"e contact
Is this source of connection missing, too intense, or 'ust right in ourself or in the person ou are
looking at%
2acial e3pression
What is our face showing% Is it masklike and une)pressive, or emotionall present and filled with
interest% What do ou see as ou look into the faces of others%
Tone of voice
0oes our voice pro'ect warmth, confidence, and delight, or is it strained and blocked% What do
ou hear as ou listen to other people%
Posture and gesture
0oes our bod look still and immobile, or rela)ed% Sensing the degree of tension in our shoulders
and 'aw answers this !uestion. What do ou observe about the degree of tension or rela)ation in the
bod of the person ou are speaking to%
Cemember, what feels good is relative. /ow do ou like to be touched% Who do ou like to have
touching ou% Is the difference between what ou like and what the other person likes obvious to
0o ou or the person ou are communicating with seem flat, cool, and disinterested, or over-the-top
and melodramatic% 7gain, this has as much to do with what feels good to the other person as it does
with what ou personall prefer.
Timing and pace
What happens when ou or someone ou care about makes an important statement% 0oes a
responseLnot necessaril verbalLcome too !uickl or too slowl% Is there an eas flow of
information back and forth%
0o ou use sounds to indicate that ou are attending to the other person% 0o ou pick up on sounds
from others that indicate their caring or concern for ou%
Interpersonal Conflict
Interpersonal conflict is a situation in which one or both persons in a relationship are
e)periencing difficult in working or living with each other. This usuall occurs due to different
or incompatible needs, goals or stles. The e)istence of conflict is usuall signaled b negative
feelings such as hurt, anger, confusion, etc. 7t this point, each person makes a decision whether
to confront the conflict openl and directl or to ignore it, suppress it, or withdraw from the
situation. The decision to confront the conflict assumes that the potential benefits of confronting
outweigh the possible costs, and that confrontation is appropriate to the situation and the
The productive resolution of conflict usuall strengthens relationships, whereas destructive
confrontation, e.g., blaming, name calling, usuall destros relationships, or at the ver least,
detracts from their satisfaction and usefulness. Thus, it is ver important how ou confront the
conflict once ou have decided to do so. * following a se!uence of steps and using
communication and problem solving skills, ou can increase the chances that the conflict will be
resolved productivel. This paper outlines the steps involved and gives guidelines for instituting
Interpersonal Conflict and Effective Communication
$onflict between people is a fact of life P and it1s not necessaril a bad thing. In fact, a relationship
with fre!uent conflict ma be healthier than one with no observable conflict. $onflicts occur at all
levels of interaction P at work, among friends, within families and between relationship partners.
When conflict occurs, the relationship ma be weakened or strengthened. Thus, conflict is a critical
event in the course of a relationship. $onflict can cause resentment, hostilit and perhaps the ending
of the relationship. If it is handled well, however, conflict can be productive P leading to deeper
understanding, mutual respect and closeness. Whether a relationship is health or unhealth
depends not so much on the number of conflicts between participants, but on how the conflicts are
Sometimes people sh awa from conflict, and the reasons for this are numerous. The ma, for
e)ample, feel that their underling anger ma go out of control if the open the door to conflict.
Thus, the ma see conflict as an all-or-nothing situation ,either the avoid it altogether or the end
up in an all-out combative mode, regardless of the real severit of the conflict-. Or the ma find it
difficult to face conflict because the feel inade!uate in general or in the particular relationship.
The ma have difficult in positivel asserting their views and feelings. $hildren who grow up
surrounded b destructive conflict ma, as adults, determine never to participate in discord. In this
situation, the person ma never have learned that there are effective, adaptive was to communicate
in the face of conflict.
People adopt a number of different stles in facing conflict. ;irst, it is ver common to see a person
avoid or den the e)istence of conflict. 8nfortunatel, in this case, the conflict often lingers in the
background during interaction between the participants and creates the potential for further tension
and even more conflict. 7 second response stle is that of one person getting mad and blaming the
other person. This occurs when a person mistakenl e!uates conflict with anger. This stance does
nothing to resolve the conflict and in fact onl serves to increase the degree of friction between the
two participants b amplifing defensiveness. 7 third wa which some people use to resolve
conflict is b using power and influence to win at the other1s e)pense. The welcome conflict
because it allows their competitive impulses to emerge, but the fail to understand that the conflict
is not reall resolved since the NloserO will continue to harbor resentment. Similarl, some people
appear to compromise in resolving the conflict, but the subtl manipulate the other person in the
process, and this, again, perpetuates the conflict between the two parties and compromises the trust
between them. There are better was to handle interpersonal conflict.
0ealth" 7pproaches to Conflict 8esolution
$onflicts run all the wa from minor, unimportant differences to disputes which can threaten the
e)istence of a relationship. $onflicts with a loved one or a long-term friend are, of course, different
from negotiating with someone who does not care about our needs, like a stranger or a salesperson.
/owever, there is an underling principle that underscores all successful conflict resolution. That is,
both parties must view their conflict as a problem to be solved mutuall so that both parties have the
feeling of winning P or at least finding a solution which is acceptable to both. #ach person must
participate activel in the resolution and make an effort and commitment to find answers which are
as fair as possible to both. This is an eas principle to understand, but it is often difficult to put into
We ma get so caught up with our own immediate interests that we damage our relationships. If we
disregard or minimi<e the position of the other person, if fear and power are used to win, or if we
alwas have to get our own wa, the other person will feel hurt and the relationship ma be
wounded. Similarl, if we alwas surrender 'ust to avoid conflict, we give the message to the other
person that it is acceptable to act self-serving at our e)pense and insensitive to our needs. Our
feeling of self-worth suffers, resentment festers, and we feel poisoned in the relationship. Instead, it
is healthier if both parties can remain open, honest, assertive and respectful of the other position.
.utual trust and respect, as well as a positive, constructive attitude, are fundamental necessities in
relationships that matter.
Preventing Conflict:
.ost people have no interest in creating conflict with others. .ost of us know enough about human
behavior to distinguish between health communication and the words or actions that contribute to
rock relationships. It is in our interest to maintain relations which are smooth, fle)ible, and
mutuall enhancing. The problem occurs when we fail to use cooperative approaches consistentl in
our dealing with others. We seldom create conflict intentionall. We do it because we ma not be
aware of how our own behavior contributes to interpersonal problems. Sometimes we forget, or we
are frustrated and annoed, and sometimes we 'ust have a bad da. 7t times we feel so e)asperated
that we focus on our own needs at the e)pense of others1. 7nd then we find ourselves in conflict.
To prevent conflict from happening in the first place, it is important to identif the was in which
we contribute to the disagreement. One wa of doing this is to identif a specific, recent conflicted
situation, recall what ou said, and then think specificall about how ou could have used more
effective language. Think about was in which our communication could have set a more trustful
tone or reduced defensiveness. Then, once ou have identified our part in the conflict, such as
blaming, practice working on that particular behavior for a da or a week. 7t the end of the time
period, evaluate our progress. 0id ou succeed% In what situations did ou not succeed% ,While it
ma be the other person who created the conflict, ou are the other half of the interaction and it is
our own response that ou have control over and can change.-
6sing Effective Communication Techni9ues to 8educe Conflict
Once ou find ourself in a conflicted situation with someone else, it is important to reduce the
emotional charge from the situation so that ou and the other person can deal with our differences
on a rational level in resolving the conflict.
The 0efusing Techni!ue" The other person might be angr and ma come to the situation armed
with a number of arguments describing how ou are to blame for his or her unhappiness. Mour goal
is to address the other1s anger P and ou do this b simpl agreeing with the person. When ou find
some truth in the other point of view, it is difficult for the other person to maintain anger. ;or
e)ample, NI know that I said I would call ou last night. Mou are absolutel right. I wish I could be
more responsible sometimes.O The accusation might be completel unreasonable from our
viewpoint, but there is alwas some truth in what the other person sas. 7t the ver least, we need
to acknowledge that individuals have different was of seeing things. This does not mean that we
have to compromise our own basic principles. We simpl validate the other1s stance so that we can
move on to a healthier resolution of the conflict. This ma be hard to do in a volatile situation, but a
sign of individual strength and integrit is the abilit to postpone our immediate reactions in order
to achieve positive goals. Sometimes we have to NloseO in order, ultimatel, to Nwin.O
#mpath" Tr to put ourself into the shoes of the other person. See the world through their ees.
#mpath is an important listening techni!ue which gives the other feedback that he or she is being
heard. There are two forms of empath. Thought #mpath gives the message that ou understand
what the other is tring to sa. Mou can do this in conversation b paraphrasing the words of the
other person. ;or e)ample, NI understand ou to sa that our trust in me has been broken.O ;eeling
#mpath is our acknowledgment of how the other person probabl feels. It is important never to
attribute emotions which ma not e)ist for the other person ,such as, NMou1re confused with all our
emotional upheaval right nowO-, but rather to indicate our perception of how the person must be
feeling. ;or e)ample, NI guess ou probabl feel prett mad at me right now.O
#)ploration" 7sk gentle, probing !uestions about what the other person is thinking and feeling.
#ncourage the other to talk full about what is on his or her mind. ;or e)ample, N7re there an
other thoughts that ou need to share with me%O
8sing NIO Statements" Take responsibilit for our own thoughts rather than attributing motives to
the other person. This decreases the chance that the other person will become defensive. ;or
e)ample, NI feel prett upset that this thing has come between us.O This statement is much more
effective than saing, NMou have made me feel ver upset.O
Stroking" ;ind positive things to sa about the other person, even if the other is angr with ou.
Show a respectful attitude. ;or e)ample, NI genuinel respect ou for having the courage to bring
this problem to me. I admire our strength and our caring attitude.O
7 8ational $a" of 8esolving Conflicts:
/ere is a model that ma help in resolving interpersonal conflicts.
Identif the Problem. /ave a discussion to understand both sides of the problem. The goal at this
initial stage is to sa what ou want and to listen to what the other person wants. 0efine the things
that ou both agree on, as well as the ideas that have caused the disagreement. It is important to
listen activel to what the other is saing, use NIO statements and avoid blame.
$ome 8p With Several Possible Solutions. This is the brainstorming phase. 0rawing on the points
that ou both agree on and our shared goals, generate a list of as man ideas as ou can for solving
the problem, regardless of how feasible the might be. 7im toward !uantit of ideas rather than
!ualit during this phase, and let creativit be our guide.
#valuate These 7lternative Solutions. +ow go through the list of alternative solutions to the
problem, one b one. $onsider the pros and cons of the remaining solutions until the list is
narrowed down to one or two of the best was of handling the problem. It is important for each
person to be honest in this phase. The solutions might not be ideal for either person and ma
involve compromise.
0ecide on the *est Solution. Select the solution that seems mutuall acceptable, even if it is not
perfect for either part. 7s long as it seems fair and there is a mutual commitment to work with the
decision, the conflict has a chance for resolution.
Implement the Solution. It is important to agree on the details of what each part must do, who is
responsible for implementing various parts of the agreement, and what to do in case the agreement
starts to break down.
$ontinue to #valuate the Solution. $onflict resolutions should be seen as works in progress. .ake it
a point to ask the other person from time to time how things are going. Something une)pected
might have come up or some aspect of the problem ma have been overlooked. Mour decisions
should be seen as open to revision, as long as the revisions are agreed upon mutuall.
0ere are a few negotiation guidelines
Q 0o some research and investigations on the other part before the meeting. $heck trade references
and outcomes of previous agreements the other part entered into. 8se our checklist of non-
negotiable to determine if ou should proceed with negotiations. It ma not be necessar to enter
into an negotiation if the other part fails the 9non-negotiable9 test in advance.
Q Prepare !uestions in advance which seek to get clarit on an clauses on documents ou have
previousl received. ?et our legal representative to look into and review contracts or agreements.
Preparation entails anticipating !uestions and answering them before ou engage. It entails
presenting our best case and alternatives when called for hence it is important. There is nothing
wrong in preparing for a stalemate position and how to break beond it.
Q ?o into ma'or meetings with a witness,es- or people who can help with discussion. This could be
our Personal 7ssistant or senior .anager in our team. Mou ma need someone who can give ou
hints and tips. Someone whom ou can use ee contact with to determine whether ou should
proceed or not. Sometimes when ou are alone negotiating with a panel ou lose on the basis of
numbers as ou ma have 3 active brains thinking ahead of ou.
Q 0o not rush to make the decision - 7lwas look at the negotiating part directl in the ee and
avoid being bullied into making a decision here and now. The push must never be 'ust to ensure the
agreement is signed off without the parties taking ownership of the decisions the are making.
Whenever there is a rush, it must flag within ou that there could be something hidden in the
agreement. Take our time. Mou don&t have to sign instantl.
Q 8nderstand the time factor - There is alwas a time conducive enough for negotiations to take
place. Mou will not negotiate effectivel when ou are in a hurr or when there is fatigue on either
side of the negotiation table. 0epending on how tense the negotiations can be, it is health to call
for a 9time out9 so that ou regain ourself.
Q 7void emotional bargaining - Separate our own emotions from the issue being negotiated on.
When ou become angr or over e)cited ou lose our composure and negotiating power.
Q 7void attacking the person but look at the matter under negotiation - There is a tendenc to
address personalities at the e)pense of the matter under discussion or negotiation. While it is
important to know the kind of person ou are negotiating with, the issue on hand supersedes
Q Pa attention to detail - In the event that ou get documents in the meeting without prior reading,
it is important to read the fine print or give a specialist within our team to scrutini<e while ou
discuss. The fine print is usuall the source of all problems in an negotiation.
Q *e prepared for compromise - *efore ou get into a negotiation process, ou should know both
our best case and worst case scenarios, the benefits and demerits of each case. Mou should
obviousl start the negotiation b putting on the table our best case. 7s ou bargain, a little bit of
compromise is necessar but not to go below our worst case scenario. I have heard it said that 9in a
negotiation, both parties must leave feeling like the won some and lost some9.
Q +ever make our desperation apparent to the other part - It is important to do a SWOT analsis
of ourself and our team that ou are going with. Once ou know our strengths, ou will not let
someone with no deep knowledge of the current issue on the table lead the discussion. 0o not
e)pose the weaknesses ou ma have as the other part will ride on that making our proposal
9Mour abilit to negotiate, communicate, influence and persuade others to do things is absolutel
Indispensable to everthing ou accomplish in life9