Speak Facts, Not Emotion During Conflict | The Zebra Blog

Speak Facts, Not Emotion During Conflict

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Conflict is inevitable when you bring two or more people together. And conflict can come in many varieties. It comes about through broken promises, misunderstandings, and sometimes a downright purposeful act to make another person angry.

Whatever conflict you find yourself faced with can be handled with a formula. A formula that emphasizes handling conflict with dignity and grace, and giving the other person the respect they deserve. Most people learn how to deal with conflict when they are young children. They watch their parents and siblings address conflict and they either learn that conflict is a part of life and is safe, or that conflict is very frightening and threatens their safety. You will never be able to deal with conflict if you are not able to make the other person feel safe enough to address conflict with you. When you get overly emotional during a conflict you abandon the real issues that need to be addressed and you move into personality, feeling, and emotion.  And while it is hard to not become emotional, it is a muscle you will have to exercise and learn how to master, because it is THE key to handling conflict successfully.

When you speak in facts rather than in emotion it allows the other person to clearly hear what the real issues are. People can handle issues, solve problems, and deal with challenges, but an emotional outburst is much harder to deal with because usually it is met with an emotional response from the other side. The situation escalates into a heated one instead of being diffused into a calm discussion. Emotion can be defended and deflected all day long, but facts are facts and they provide a clear road map to solving the conflict.

The key is to respectfully present the facts and then let the other side have the opportunity to fully respond to those facts – without ANY interruption from you. Even if they may have just said something absolutely untrue or ridiculous and you are dying to say something … you must resist jumping in.  Let them completely finish and then address what they said with factual and respectful responses.

For example, let’s say that you were upset with another agent for the way they talked to you at an offer presentation. Afterwards you decided to meet with the agent and talk to them about this. The agent had implied during the presentation that if you had done your research there would be no way that you would have presented such a low offer. When you met with the agent afterwards, you indicated to this agent that her treatment of you embarrassed you, and you were very bothered by it, as it was a direct negative and personal comment made against you in front of the seller.

When you met with the agent to resolve this conflict you respectfully stated these facts to the agent: “When we were at the offer presentation, you implied that I had not done proper research”. You then should stop to allow the other agent the time she needs to process the facts you just presented. You also need to give them an opportunity to respond.

Perhaps she then responded back to you, but her response was very rude. She said, “Well, that is my opinion and I would never have presented an offer without knowing anything about the area”.

Wow, this agent doesn’t seem to want to hear what your concern is and they certainly didn’t respond in a respectful manner. Now that she has responded, you have to respond back. Your job is not to convince them that you did the research; your job is to simply tell her why this bothered you. A factual, respectful response could simply be, “We do not agree on the research issue and I respect that. In future I would appreciate you speaking with me about your concerns privately – not in front of your clients. When you speak to me negatively in front of your clients it puts me in a negative light. I want to do a good job and help my buyers purchase your sellers’ home, but I do not believe those types of comments help us to close this transaction for your seller and my buyer. Can I get your agreement that in the future if you are concerned about something like this that you speak to me about it privately?”

This agent is either going to say “yes” or “no”, but the important thing is that you have addressed the issue that was bothering you with a minimum of emotion. Dealing with conflict has a lot to do with respectfully letting a person know how their behavior or comments affect you.

Conflict resolution is a gift you give to others. When you can deal with conflict in a respectful way, and if you can keep facts, not emotion, at the forefront when resolving conflict, you will be amazed at the response. I urge you to try this the very next time you need to confront someone with an issue, whether that be a child who didn’t obey or a client asking you to cut your commission. When you eliminate emotion from the equation, the results are astonishing!


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