How To Solve An Argument By Shabbar Suterwala


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10 simple tips on how to solve arguments.

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  • Disagreements are a fact of life. They are a necessity for understanding each other, for growth and sometimes as a means of discipline. That said, arguments can get out of control very quickly. When this happens, both parties of the argument can (and often do) say things that they do not mean. As emotions pour like a fountain, a simple disagreement can turn into a series of personal attacks. This leads to the first rule of graceful argument diffusion: 1. Never hold the other party responsible for what is said in an argument We all make mistakes, and we all say things we don’t mean. You need to be mindful of what people say in an argument, but you may need to ignore and let go of insults and generalisations that come your way. Emotional arguments usually include the phrases “You always…” and “You never…”. Clearly these are massive generalisations, and are expressed only because the other person is upset. I understand that we should be mindful of what we say, but the first step in resolving arguments is to realise that the other person is only human too. In a perfect world, an emotional person would be careful in choosing their words as to not offend another. If you find such a perfect world, please send me an invite. 2. Find privacy Two people should never argue loudly in front of other people. I have witnessed this in open offices, on public transport, in front of children, and even in the middle of a suburban street. You may find it soothing to publicly humiliate someone in the middle of a passionate argument, however other folks do not want to hear it. Furthermore, reconciling after an argument is much easier if both parties learn to argue privately and respectfully. If you yell at somebody in the middle of a busy office, you now have two issues that need to be reconciled instead of one. 3. Lower your voice The opposing party may be shouting, however you need to keep your volume low and even, always. A common excuse for raising one’s voice is “well, I want to be heard”. Trust me, if the person you are arguing with is yelling, they will not hear you, no matter how loud you get. You are better off speaking softly to reduce the agitation and tension of the other party. Their voice will soon fall back down to your level, making it easier for you both to listen and understand each other. 4. Speak slowly Your aim is to remove the emotional tones and aggravation in a discussion so that you can focus on the actions necessary to resolve the issue. A key way to bring the argument back to earth is to speak slower. Fast paced speech is usually pressuring, agitating and leave’s the other person little time to collect thoughts and respond. By speaking slowly, you will subconsciously calm the other party (as many hypno-therapists do) and give them a chance to respond between your pauses. 5. Reassure the other person of why you are arguing In an agitated state, it is easy for us to feel like the other person is attacking us, that they do not like us. While working as a customer service representative in my youth, I would often have callers shouting at me for things that had nothing to do with me. It made no sense, but I took it personal - as if they did not like me. I now use that experience to take the “personal” out of an argument, and reassure the person I am arguing with as to why I am displeased. For example, if I am in a heated argument with a customer service rep, I will often say “Look, you need to know that I am not upset with you personally. I am just frustrated that …”. The same pattern works for interoffice conflicts: “My frustration is not with you. I think you do a great job… my only concern is with the lack of documentation in these areas.” You would not believe the affect this has on the other person. By expressing the area of concern and reassuring them that your issue is not with them personally, resolution becomes much easier. If two parties are defensive, they will both go into the offensive. Your goal is to break down the defensive barrier so that you can both come to a reasonable agreement. This is the strongest tool in my toolbox when it comes to resolving arguments. 6. Recommend a Time-Out Although this may not always be convenient, a brief time out can help both of you calm down and collect your thoughts. In an office environment, I have found that taking a few hours apart from the person you are in conflict with can greatly enhance your ability to come to a resolution. If you feel you need to talk to someone in the meantime, be sure that they are positive and generally unbiased. The last thing you need is somebody with an agenda who makes you more angry with the opposing party. 7. Treat the issue with respect, don’t joke around If the other party is upset about an issue that is not important to you, do not make a joke or smile about it. I have seen a single smirk turn a petty disagreement into a fist fight. By making fun of an issue, you are making fun of the person who is bringing up the issue. Smiling and laughter have their place, and the course of an argument is not one of them. If you have a tendency to smile or laugh during serious events, you need to practice self control. Making light of an issue is fine if you are alone, but if you wish to come to any resolution, the other party needs to know that you take their concerns seriously. 8. Do not involve others I have been dragged into a countless number of arguments in offices to either support or refute a personal disagreement. This is no fun. Do not make this mistake. The disagreement needs to be resolved between you, involving other people will only make the opposing party feel bullied. This type of behaviour disrupts office politics and introduces further conflict between people. It is selfish to drag other people into your arguments, by proving your point, you may have created an outstanding issue between the opposing party and the third party. Fight your own battles, it may be harder but your friends and work colleagues will thank you for it. 9. Stick to the point Do not digress. Stay on topic. Arguments can open the gates of previously bottled and unresolved issues you may have with the other person. In the middle of an argument, do not bring up something that they did a year ago. This type of behaviour is childish and proves only that you have trouble letting go. Digression can easily turn an issue based disagreement into a personal attack. By bringing up previous events, you are simply demonstrating to the opposing party that the problem is with “them” personally. This takes the focus off the issue, and achieves nothing towards resolution. 10. Sit, don’t stand. Level the playing field. If either of you is standing, you should recommend that you both sit down. This is a less threatening posture, and will reduce each other’s primitive fight or flight stimulus. Two men who are standing while in a heated disagreement may not consciously be aware of that their primitive signals are to engage in combat. Sitting down will at least make sure that while you are both in conflict, there is no risk of subconscious threats. 11. Keep a physical distance, and respect it This follows closely to the previous point. You need to avoid standing face to face, as this is physically a very confronting stance. By maintaining a comfortable distance, and respecting that distance, you will have a better chance of focussing on the issue rather than on each other directly. Sitting side by side is recommended to sitting directly in front of one another. Again, keeping some distance will keep both of your primal instincts in control. 12. Take the argument to another location A change of scenery may be exactly what you need to reduce the tension. Office environments often do not provide a relaxing atmosphere. A conflict in an office may better be resolved in a nice cafe close to work. I have personally found that a change in scenery helps to heal disagreements with much less effort. 13. Confirm that the outcome is acceptable for the other person After coming to a resolution, be sure to confirm that the other person is okay with the outcome. You may feel that the issue is resolved, however the other party may still feel short-changed. Simply asking “Are you comfortable with that?” will let you know if you have indeed come to a successful resolution. This is both necessary and noble. By not confirming their view, you risk the chance for another argument later. Simply showing concern in this regard will greatly help your personal and work relationships. The next time you are in a heated debate, be sure to call on these techniques to come to a meaningful resolution. Many friendships and relationships have been lost to arguments that have spiralled out of control. Approach disagreements consciously rather than becoming a victim of one. Whether you are in disagreement with a friend, a spouse, a manager or a work colleague, the aim is always the same: to focus on the issue, not the person. We are all human, we all make mistakes, and we all just want to get along. So, lets be conscious of ourselves, mindful of others and do what we can to make this already complicated life a little easier.
  • How To Solve An Argument By Shabbar Suterwala

    1. 1. How to Solve an Argument Presented by ………
    2. 2. How an Argument starts…. <ul><li>The fact is that disagreements will happen </li></ul><ul><li>Communication starts getting distorted and misunderstood </li></ul><ul><li>Unresolved past bottled up feelings comes up… </li></ul><ul><li>These disagreements turn into arguments and issues become personal attacks… </li></ul>
    3. 3. Here are 10 Tips to Solve an Argument
    4. 4. 1. Stop Blaming Others <ul><li>Stop phrases like </li></ul><ul><li>You always… </li></ul><ul><li>You never… </li></ul><ul><li>You are… </li></ul><ul><li>You are not… </li></ul><ul><li>You should have…. </li></ul><ul><li>You should have not… </li></ul><ul><li>I thought you will… </li></ul><ul><li>I assumed you…. </li></ul><ul><li>I feel you are… </li></ul>
    5. 5. 2.Take the Issue in a Corner <ul><li>Never argue in Public or when there are people around </li></ul><ul><li>Never shout at someone in a busy office or you will have to handle two issues then </li></ul><ul><li>Nobody likes humiliation in public </li></ul><ul><li>Best is to speak in a privacy setting, one on one. </li></ul>
    6. 6. 3. Check your voice and volume <ul><li>When you raise your voice and volume you put the other person into defensive mode </li></ul><ul><li>Its like putting oil in fire </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain a calm and soft voice to appear in a resolving mode </li></ul>
    7. 7. 4. Stop Speaking – Start Listening <ul><li>Only when you start listening to the other person will you be able to understand the other persons point of view </li></ul><ul><li>First listen, so that you can then be heard </li></ul>
    8. 8. 5. Separate the Person and the Issue <ul><li>Respect people and deal with the issue </li></ul><ul><li>Do not discount people or laugh it out by saying “it is such a silly thing” </li></ul><ul><li>It may be silly for you, but most important for the other person </li></ul>
    9. 9. 6. Use Time Out Principle <ul><li>When both parties talk no one listens except outsiders who are not concerned at all </li></ul><ul><li>At times it is best to take time out – calm down and recollect your thoughts </li></ul><ul><li>It is said “time takes it own course” works well in an argument </li></ul>
    10. 10. 7. Avoid forming a Gang <ul><li>Involving other people will only make the opposing party feel bullied </li></ul><ul><li>This is one major reason for gossips and office politics which introduces further conflict between people </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid involving unnecessary people in the loop </li></ul>
    11. 11. 8. Avoid mixing other bottled up arguments <ul><li>There is a tendency to bring in all the past issues in the current argument </li></ul><ul><li>This only boils the current issue further instead of resolving it </li></ul><ul><li>This also shows immaturity and childishness </li></ul>
    12. 12. 9. Mind your Body Language…(I) <ul><li>Action speaks louder than words.. </li></ul><ul><li>Your face, your hands in fact your entire body speaks volume </li></ul><ul><li>So what you “say” may not mean much but what you “do” may give a subtle message to the other person </li></ul>
    13. 13. 9. Mind your Body Language…(II) <ul><li>Don'ts of Body Language </li></ul><ul><li>Standing too close </li></ul><ul><li>Standing while talking </li></ul><ul><li>Pointing finger </li></ul><ul><li>Crossing arms on chest </li></ul><ul><li>Raised Eyebrows </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid Eye contact </li></ul><ul><li>Do’s of Body Language </li></ul><ul><li>Genuine Smile </li></ul><ul><li>Open Gestures </li></ul><ul><li>Slow & Deep Breathing </li></ul>
    14. 14. 10. Come to a Win–Win Resolution <ul><li>Ask, what will you lose if you win this argument? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it really worth winning this argument and losing on the relationship? </li></ul><ul><li>To have a Win-Win first you must begin with thinking Win-Win and then discussing how to achieve Win-Win </li></ul>
    15. 15. Check out for any arguments with.. <ul><li>your Boss... </li></ul><ul><li>your Colleague… </li></ul><ul><li>your Subordinate… </li></ul><ul><li>your Spouse… </li></ul><ul><li>your Child… </li></ul><ul><li>your Friend… </li></ul><ul><li>your Neighbour… </li></ul><ul><li>your Relative… </li></ul><ul><li>Ask the following questions to yourself </li></ul><ul><li>Who will benefit from this Argument? </li></ul><ul><li>What will be the cost? </li></ul><ul><li>What is at stake? </li></ul><ul><li>If you Win, will it be really winning? </li></ul><ul><li>Can I let go my Ego? </li></ul><ul><li>Can I accept my mistake? </li></ul><ul><li>Can I give up? </li></ul>
    16. 16. Summary of the 10 Tips Solve an Argument <ul><li>Stop Blaming Others </li></ul><ul><li>Take the issue in a Corner </li></ul><ul><li>Check your voice and volume </li></ul><ul><li>Stop speaking – Start Listening </li></ul><ul><li>Separate the Person and the Issue </li></ul><ul><li>Use Time Out Principle </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid forming a Gang </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid mixing other bottled up arguments </li></ul><ul><li>Mind your Body Language…(II) </li></ul><ul><li>Come to a Win–Win Resolution </li></ul>
    17. 17. Attitudinal & Behavioral Workshop on “ Winning at Workplace” Contact: Shabbar Suterwala Email: [email_address] Or Call: +91-989 222 5864 Designed & Created by Customised In-house Soft Skills Training Programs