Conflict Management: Applicable Communication Techniques - DESC - Active Listening

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Conflict Management: Applicable Communication Techniques - DESC - Active Listening

As we have seen in the article "Conflict Management in the Workplace: The Main Attitudes Towards Conflicts", assertiveness may be seen as the ideal attitude that may be adopted when facing contradiction, as it seeks to establish a "win-win" partnership between the parties involved. However, our everyday experience attests to the fact that, in situations of conflicts, addressing both our own needs and those of others is far from being an easy task. It can thus be interesting to consider some communication techniques that can complement and support the practice of assertiveness:

  1. Active listening (definition): This technique helps up in clarifying what the interlocutor wants to say, understand what have been said and how that we understood.
  2. The "DESC" technique (diagram): The basic principle is that the organization and the structuring of thoughts allow better control of the action and reduce the risk of getting carried away.
  3. The "Broken Record" technique: It’s basically repeating the same request in a somewhat different way, while smiling and adopting a courteous and affable tone. Be careful and remain calm, aggressiveness or ironic tone should be avoided, and do not apologize.
  4. The "Radio Silence" technique: It basically consists in not listening to what the speaker has to say. This technique saves time, energy and reduces the chance to get emotional.
  5. The "Cushion" technique: This technique is effective when engaging a malicious or poorly reasoned situation when criticizing someone. It consists in saying nothing that might get you involved, nor giving any information that might lead to an argument or a conflict. Simply restate what the person speaking has said in a very neutral manner. It is useful, for example, in the case of dismissal interview (guidelines), when the interlocutor attacks on an irrelevant and/or out of context issue.

It may also be useful to take a look at the annexed documents "The Ground Rules of Assertiveness", as it provides some hints at how to take other people's needs and expectations into account while respecting one's own needs and expectations.

The article "The Main Barriers to Assertiveness" also offers some avenues to explore, with the aim of developing both personal and professional well-being.

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