Have you ever preferred to keep quiet for fear of getting angry with your interlocutor?
Have you ever found yourself feeling frustrated with a situation and not knowing how to talk to the right person?
Did you sometimes have trouble formulating a criticism for fear of hurting your interlocutor?
If the answer is yes, this article is for you!
There are times when we can't talk to the other party for one reason or another. In some relationships, we can also fall back into the same arguments without being able to prevent or better manage them.
This inevitably has consequences in communication. Frustrations accumulate, discussions become more and more difficult and even afterwards, these conflicts lead to a breakdown in the relationship.
To settle a conflict, there are not 36,000 ways of doing things, you have to communicate.
Of course, this is not innate and I will say it over and over again: communicating well can be learned!
But the good news is that you are not alone in this challenge. I would like to present to you today a tool that has helped me immensely.
This tool is a method named "DESC" - An unstoppable method for resolving conflicts.
The purpose of this method is to help you communicate better. It’s not a magic method but having tried it many times it really does work.
For me, this method is a real communication facilitator that calms things down and lets you say what you feel without crashing. The main benefits :
- Upstream: avoid arguments and conflicts by speaking as soon as you repeatedly feel frustrations. It gives the opportunity to calmly discuss our differences, possible solutions and thus avoid loud voices (and glasses sometimes ...)
- Downstream: relaunch communication following a conflict in a non-violent way by trying to express what one feels in order to find solutions for both people.
This method is based on 4 main points, which are very important in the way we will construct our speech.
1. Describe the facts:
If someone hurt or upset you, you have the right to tell them, but not just anyhow. It is important that you base yourself on real facts to give your feelings. Why ?
Simply because the reception that the other will give to your words will depend on how you say to them.
If you start a discussion with lots of reproaches like “YOU are like this…” “everything is YOUR fault”, there is little chance that the discussion will succeed.
Your interlocutor risks feeling attacked, criticized, rejected and will therefore seek to protect himself.
Depending on his personality, he may return criticism to you, shut himself up in silence or even flee the discussion.
Being based on facts is therefore the best way to start a discussion without it becoming a dialogue of the deaf.
It is important that you can express what happened in the situation without actually passing judgment.
Ex: Yesterday, during the meeting with the whole committee, you said the following to me (...) in front of everyone, while I was doing my presentation.
Note: Wanting to resolve a conflict is good, but you still have to have the attention of the person in front of you. So don't forget!
Choosing the time and place for such a discussion is essential. So I recommend that you start by offering the person to speak in a quiet place that is conducive to discussion.
Make sure she's available and able to listen to you before you start.
2. Expressing Emotions
This part is extremely important although, I grant you, difficult.
Expressing our emotions is already not easy, but when it comes to emotions like anger or frustration, we can quickly get carried away.
The best way to express your feelings without hurting someone else is to speak in the first person.
This way, your interlocutor will not be able to feel attacked because you speak about your feelings.
Moreover, he will not be able to deny what you say because you are talking about something that concerns you and that you are the only one who can define.
Example: you can replace a sentence like "you are annoying" by "I am annoyed because this is not the first time that it happens ”or even“ you are selfish! ” by "I feel hurt by what you are doing, I feel like you are not thinking of me".
3. Specify Solutions:
Together comes a crucial step, often forgotten when we argue and we end up moving on.
Here, the goal is to put in “problem solving” mode. You expressed rather negative feelings before, the goal in this part is to give a positive touch to the discussion.
To do this, you can start by talking to him about your needs: “I need to feel that you trust me”.
You can then suggest common solutions to your interlocutor.
The goal is to find a win-win middle ground where both parties can feel content.
This is the time when you can indicate what you want to see changed so that the problem does not come back.
Do not impose your solutions, but brainstorm with the person ideas for the conflict no longer comes.
Ex: "I need you not to come and tell me what to do and what not to do. Are you ok with this?
"Look, we're not going to be able to keep operating like this, this is what I'm offering / what are you offering to me?"
4. Consequences and Conclusion:
In the concluding part, the idea is to tell the person what positive consequences it will have on you if the situation changes.
And in the other direction as well, you can tell him what the inconvenience would be if the problem arises again.
You can help yourself with these questions:
- What is the interest for him / her to adopt my solution?
- What could you both gain from it?
- What are the negative consequences of not opting for this solution?
Ex: "It will help us to work better together and succeed in this project" "I would like to spend time with you again" or also "If this situation starts again, here is what is likely to happen ..."