We’re all different, we all have different opinions and we all have different agendas, this means that on occasion we find ourselves in conflicting situations. You have no doubt experienced this. However, one of the best lessons you will ever learn is that conflict is actually an opportunity. Of course you would rather not have the issue in the first place, but you do, so now you need to find a way to turn lemons into lemonade and it often easier than you may think.
Understand Why Conflict Happens
Conflict often arises due to the different needs of each party. But sometimes it’s just from a lack of knowledge or understanding of the needs or how different solutions will benefit each party. You have to remember that the needs of all parties are important, but the customer’s needs are paramount and must be considered first. You may have a need to earn a living but that isn’t going to be enough to convince someone to become a customer of yours. You have to answer the question, “What’s in it for me” from your customers’ perspective before you can move on.
Practice Healthy Responses
When someone reacts badly to something you thought they would react well to, it can be tempting to respond by attacking them, this is a knee jerk reaction. The truth actually is, how you respond to conflict will inform your audience more about you than you ever thought possible. Instead, try to find healthy ways to respond in a manner that shows you’re putting their needs ahead of your own. Think of it like this in terms of customers, to win an argument with a customers’ is to lose that customer … and believe it or not, this is more often the case.
Letting Go of Stress from Conflict
Conflict can be very stressful. One way to let go of the stress is not to deal with it and instead let someone you pay deal with it, you can even outsource this. But, if you find yourself in a situation that causes you stress, the best thing to do is breathe, make a joke, be humorous and try to listen to what the other side says that may give you a clue about how you can resolve the problem.
Learn to Be Mindful
Always be aware of your audience when you write, speak, or create a product or service. A lot of conflict can be avoided if you’ve carried out research, so that you can create something that they really need and that really does the job you say it does. Don’t try to fake it and trick them that will never work. Instead create something truly amazing that truly solves problems and you’ll reduce conflict exponentially.
Open Your Ears and Listen
When you listen during a conflict, people tell you exactly how to solve the problem. They will tell you what to do to fix it satisfactorily. If you can do what they want, do it. It won’t hurt you. But if you can’t for some reason, try to find a middle ground to agree on and move forward with that.
Note Non-Verbal Communication When Appropriate
If you’re able to see the other person’s body language, you can often interrupt conflict before it happens. People who are having a good time will make eye contact with you and have open body language. If you say something that makes them uncomfortable, they’ll close in to self-protect. Pay attention to that so that you can defuse problems before they start.
Use Humor to Deflect Anger
When people are angry you have to be careful not to make them angrier. Using self-depreciating humor while admitting you messed up can often work to defuse the situation.
Resolution Isn’t about Being Right
If you really want to resolve an issue, you have to let go of the idea of being right, let me repeat that you have to let go of the idea of being right. Resolution often lies within the middle ground, but sometimes it lies in giving up and letting the customer have their way even if you feel they’re wrong. Always look at the bigger picture, to win an argument might make you right but does it help you achieve your big picture. Bad customers simply indicate that you that you need to do a better job of targeting your ideal customer so that you don’t get these kinds of people buying your products or using your services in the future, because some people will never be happy.
If you want to be able to turn conflict into positive change, you need to start being aware of why conflict happens so that you can learn healthy responses that deflect anger and build a resolution that is satisfactory for all parties. After all, being right isn’t what positive change is about. Seeing the opportunity is.