Sep 25

4/1 Intro to Communication Skills and Conflict Solutions

So far in our Blog, we have been telling the story of Chelsea and her friend, Jacko.  We traced their beginnings of a relationship through to ‘meeting the family’.  Remember how different their Family of Origin turned out to be? 

Now we continue with the next area these two people needed to face if their relationship was to continue to grow: Communication skills to resolve Conflict Solutions.

Conflict is all around you; in fact conflict is unavoidable in the world you face.  So, conflict isn’t the problem then?  In fact, it’s how we handle the Conflict that make the issues grow out of proportion or stay within limits that we can learn from.

In this Blog on Conflict Solution, we have been talking about the underlying issues that influence all Conflicts.  So far we have discussed how personal expectations colour our reactions to conflict.  Then we launched into the great impact that our Family of Origin has when facing disagreements.  We saw how important our personal boundaries were in this area.

Then we travelled into the heavy discussion – and possible disagreement – area of Male Female differences.  We also added some ideas and worksheets to help you sort out some of your own questions.

Now we venture into the importance of Communication skills and all Conflict Solutions.

Yet don’t we all communicate? Didn’t Chelsea and Jacko discuss things?  Whenever we talk, aren’t we communicating?

Even to express this statement leads to question – ‘What is communication?’  What blocks good communication and how can we learn better communication skills to resolve conflicts with others.  We shall cover this in greater detail in future posts but to begin with, let me tell you a quick example of communication….or lack thereof!  Here is a quick example:

My husband, Daniel and I were on a beach holiday.  We had just crossed a few busy roads and ended up at a beautiful beach front.  As we parked, a rather rough looking farmer type, standing by a horse float, said to my husband:

“Careful, we’re just bringing up a horse from the beach and don’t want to kick your van in.”

“OK”, said Daniel said as he stepped from the campervan and headed to the breach down a single track.

I watched as horse and rider appeared on the same track as my husband.  At this point, it dawned on me what the farmer was actually saying.  He was warning us first, that a horse was coming on the same path as Daniel.  Secondly, we were parked closer to the horse float than he was comfortable with.  Then thirdly, he wanted us to move our campervan…..and keep off the track.  Had he said any of that?

Question – had he communicated?  Hhuuummm…not really.  How much frustration could be avoided if …. the full message sent was the full message received.  This will be a re-occurring theme throughout our blog on communications issues and conflict solutions.

We learn these communication skills as little children, watching our parents, siblings and others around us.  How do Mum and Dad talk and resolve things?  This becomes the pattern for our own understanding and future relating to those around us.  It comes as no surprise, however that our parents were – or even now – are not perfect in their communication.

At the heart of communication lies this theme: Communication happens when the message we mean is the message we say…and the message the other person hears … the same message.  Many blocks stop that communication process from happening. What we mean isn’t always what we say or what someone hears. This section explores the most common pitfalls and how to communicate clearly with those around us.

In this part of our series on Conflict Solutions, we will discuss what makes good communication and how to handle conflict in healthy ways.  What blocks good communication?  We set out the different fight styles and what are good rules for safe conflict.  What part does assertiveness have in resolving issues?  …or when do we need to forgive versus when do we need to learn to confront?  We shall look at all these questions in coming posts.

So join us as we explore the Huge area of Communication Skills to help with all conflict Solutions.

Susanne Fengler. Blog Author

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