Easy Pieces for Facile Facilitators, #5 and #6
We’re exploring easy pieces for facile facilitators, and in today’s post, we’ll cover #5 and #6.
5. Keep It Cool
If conflict arises between participants, your job is to diffuse it before it gets out of hand. In fact, this is often the most important thing you do for the group, since without you they are likely to resort to old non productive patterns of behavior, like yelling, labeling, and dismissing.
Find the common ground. This is one of the simplest conflict resolution techniques that I know. By systematically identifying and removing areas of agreement from a conflict, you can more narrowly define it, and more succesfully resolve it.
Help combatants to be heard by each other. Ask each person to state their case, then have the other person tell them what they heard. Keep doing this until you agreement that each person knows what the other said. Sometimes, when people hear each other correctly, they discover that they are not that far apart and find the resources they need to end the conflict before it gets off the ground.
Broaden the conversation. Getting others involved by soliciting their opinions may serve to moderate the positions of the combatants.
6. Wrap It Up. Success breeds success, so a successful conclusion to the meeting is the first step in getting to a positive change following the meeting.
One way to do this is to summarize what was accomplished by the meeting. If you can remind the group of where it started and show distinct contrast with where it is ending, people will be able to leave with the sense of movement towards resolution. Not every meeting gets to the goal, because hidden variables are revealed and impractical approaches made obvious. But movement counts.
You can summarize the remaining issues. Tell the group what wasn’t gotten to or settled, and schedule a follow up meeting to get to those items.
You can also summarize the ideas offered to solve a problem, and then narrow the field to the best of them. You can do this by having a vote on the ideas, to find out what has the most support. You may need to do two or three rounds of this in order to get to the best ideas.
Enjoying this series? Come back next week for the exciting conclusion! Your feedback and comments are welcome!
Rick is a best selling author and the founder of the Art of Change Skills for Life. His book titles include, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to bring out the best in people at their worst, Life by Design and Influence and the Art of Persuasion. These days he is spending quality time away from the spotlight enjoying the company of his wife and practicing his electric guitar.