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  • sculpture(silence)

    Quick Tips

    1. Avoid rambling.
    2. Use their words.
    3. Ask yourself if what you are going to say will make a positive impact.  

    How do we help the other person hear us?

    Acknowledge the message.  Let the speaker know that they have been heard – this will pave the way for them to hear you.  Simply restating or clarifying what you have heard acknowledges their message.

    Honor their truth.  What the speaker is saying is truth to them.  Avoid challenging their truth.  Understand that while it may not be your reality, it is theirs.   Respect their reality and point of view.

    Control your voice.  Pay attention to your voice tone.  Think of a person whose voice irritates you.  How difficult is it to listen to them?

    Women often have a high pitched or shrill tone, especially when they are deeply committed to what they are saying. Listen to how you sound.  You may have to work on your voice tone to make it more pleasing to listen to.

    Choose your words wisely.  Pay attention to the words you use.

    Reflect the speaker’s words.  Using the same vocabulary creates a connection.

    Avoid rambling and get to the point so that you don’t lose the person’s attention.

    Use silence well.  Often saying nothing communicates more than words.  Silence can encourage the speaker to continue if they are not finished.  It helps you to formulate your response and demonstrates that you are thoughtfully considering what they have said.  Practice waiting 5-10 seconds before responding.

    Test before you speak.  Rebecca Shafir, author of “The Zen of Listening,” suggests that you ask yourself the following before you speak:  “Is what I am going to say kind, true, necessary and an improvement upon the silence?”

     

    Your Assignment

    In my interview with author Rebecca Shafir on The Texas Conflict Coach® podcast, Rebecca suggested an assignment that can improve listening:

    • Practice meditation. Meditation teaches us how to allow silence and how to improve concentration and focus.  If you are not familiar with meditation, you can begin with meditating only 5-10 minutes.

    To learn more about this topic, listen to the entire episode Mindful Listening in the Age of Distraction

     

    Patricia M Porter, LCSW

    Conflict Management Expert

    Leave a Reply
  • Photo by Abigail R.C. McManus

    Photo by Abigail R.C. McManus

    My niece turns two years old this week, and instead of toys, I like to buy her books. I always loved getting new books and hearing new stories as a kid, and that hasn’t changed since becoming an adult. I was walking through the Children’s section at the book store the other day looking for books for my niece when I stumbled upon a book titled, What Do You Do With A Problem by Kobi Yamada (author) and Mae Besom (Illustrator). The book begins with the child having a nameless problem. The problem is small at first, but as the child tries to ignore it, they find that it just becomes bigger, consuming their thoughts, and affecting their life. Finally, the child decides to face the problem head on and discovers their problem, “…held an opportunity. It was an opportunity for me to learn and to grow. To be brave. To do something.” The illustrations parallel the message, at the beginning of the story the pictures are gloomy and gray but as the child faces their problem, the images become more colorful. I love this book, and the message it conveys to kids. Avoiding a problem will likely only make it worse, and once you face it, you will discover there is something you can learn from it.

    The book brought to my attention the unique ability adults have to convey conflict resolution, mindfulness, and problem-solving to their kids. I have theorized for many years that conflict resolution should be taught as a course in school. I feel if an emphasis was placed on tiny humans to learn to be mindful of themselves and resolve conflict constructively it will evolve into adulthood and then there is a potential that future generations will have more peaceful interactions than today.

    I love that there are many children’s books promoting mindfulness and conflict resolution. I compiled a book list below of some other impressive options and the messages they convey that emphasize key elements in mindfulness and conflict resolution:

    Thanks for the Feedback, I think? By Julia Cook  (Author), Kelsey De Weerd (Illustrator)

    • The book teaches children about receiving positive and negative feedback and how to act when you receive it.

    My Mouth is a Volcano! By Julia Cook (Author), Carrie Hartman (Illustrator)

    • The book in a humorous way teaches children about listening to others, not interrupting, and being respectful.

    Decibella and Her 6-Inch Mouth By Julia Cook (Author), Anita Du Falla ( Illustrator)

    • The book outlines how you can use your voice in varied situations to convey different messages and feelings.

    What If Everybody Did That? By Ellen Javernick

    • The book teaches that there are positive and negative consequences of your actions and how those actions affect the people and world around us.

    Cool Down and Work Through Anger By Cheri J. Meiners M.Ed

    • The book discusses the complex emotion of anger and how to work through it constructively.

    The books listed above are just a few amazing options to teach children constructive conflict resolution skills like managing emotions, listening, productively conveying your message, handling feedback, and tackling problems head on rather than avoiding. Those skills are difficult for many adults to learn, therefore, teaching them to children early on can alter how they interact with others for the rest of their life.

    What other children’s books discuss conflict resolution and mindfulness? Share  your findings in our comment section below!

     

    Have a great week,

    Abigail R.C. McManus, M.S. Negotiation and Conflict Management.

    Guest Blogger

     

     

    Leave a Reply
  • Coffee Station

    Photo by Patricia M. Porter

    If you have been reading my latest blog posts on managing change, you might wonder how the new neighborhood coffee house is doing since they opened. La Taza Java Coffee house re-opened in early July under a new owner, Corrina Perez. Corinna, a regular customer of La Taza for years, like myself, made a big leap of faith and a decision to keep our local gathering place from closing forever. With anticipation, I stepped into the shop, it had familiarity, and yet it changed. Things were different. It had a fresh and clean look, a wall removed creating an open feel, and they chose a local artist to feature her paintings along the walls. Even the coffee beans and food product lines changed. Corrina is all about partnerships and community building which means fresh bagels from another locally and family owned business, Bagel Factory. I recall feeling good about the changes, and Corrina greeted me warmly as I entered the shop. I even saw familiar faces, so it felt comforting.

    With any change and transition, we first need to recognize the past before accepting and celebrating the new. The local customers along with the previous owner, Judy Hanley, hosted a goodbye party. Then, you know from my last blog post When Change Happens: Maneuvering Through The Unknown that there is a second transition with a period of confusion, delay and sometimes lack of communication. Once we move through this zone, then the path becomes clearer. In the third transition of change management, we engage in celebrating a fresh start. This beginning comes with new systems or ways of doing things. For example, Corrina set up a self-serve coffee station along with fresh cold brew coffee. In the past, I would run a tab paid in advance. Although Corrina did not have a system in place for this, she immediately inquired about this process and demonstrated a desire to understand and meet the needs of her customers. She is now considering a couple of options for frequent coffee drinkers. As I approached the self-serve coffee station, I lightly joked with another long-time customer that it would take some visits to learn the revised ways and taste the new products.

    What does it take to implement new changes in your life or business successfully?

    • Recognize everyone transitions at a different pace with some embracing change quickly, others reluctantly moving forward and yet a few individuals refusing to let go of the traditional ways.
    • Keep listening for concerns, unmet needs, and confusion. Acknowledge for that individual what you heard as important to them.
    • Be honest and transparent in your communications. It is critical to moving through the usual chaos that comes with big
    • Check and change your attitude. Ruminating in negativity keeps you stuck in the past. Demonstrating a neutral or positive attitude helps you move forward through the transitions.
    • Show You might be super excited about the fresh start and wonder why everyone is not experiencing the same excitement. Be curious, ask questions such as “What is keeping you back there?” or “What are you giving away with this new change?”

    Celebrating a fresh start is more about a psychological shift in how we think and feel about the change. Mark the occasion with another event like a celebratory gathering with friends or family, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and in the case of La Taza Java Coffee House, an Open House to announce to the community, we are here and ready to serve you. Stay tuned at La Taza Java Coffee House Facebook page for the Open House event.

    Patricia M. Porter, LCSW

    Conflict Management Expert

     

     

    Leave a Reply


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