10 Tips for Every Day Problem Solving


Have a conflict? Try these simple tips to resolve the issue. For more information on conflict resolution or for the assistance of a professional mediator, please call 541-344-5366.


1. Talk Directly
If there is no threat of violence, speak directly to the person with whom you have the problem. Direct conversation is much more effective than sending a letter, banging on the wall, throwing a rock or complaining to everyone else.


2. Choose a Good Time
Plan to talk to the other person at a good time for both of you and allow enough time discuss the issue. For example, don't begin the discussion as the other person is leaving for work, after you have had a terrible day, or right before you have to make dinner. Check in with the other person about when would be a good time for them.


3. Plan Ahead
Think out what you want to say before your meeting. State clearly what the problem is and how it affects you. Talk in a quiet place where you can both be comfortable and undisturbed. Use "I" statements, i.e. "I am frightened and alarmed when I wake-up to loud noises in the middle of the night."


4. Show Respect
Respect means different things to different people. However, no one wants to be blamed or called names. Upsetting the other person only makes it more difficult to be heard. Do not blame the other person or begin the conversation with what you think should be done.


5. Give Information
Do not interpret the other person's behavior: "You are blocking my driveway on purpose just to make me mad!" Instead, give information about your own feelings: "When your car blocks my driveway, I get angry because I can't get to work on time."


6. Show That You Are Listening
Give the other person a chance to tell his or her side of the conflict completely. Relax and listen; try to learn how the other person feels. Although you may not agree with what is being said, tell the other person that you hear him or her and are glad that you are discussing the problem together. Try to repeat back to the person key points that you hear them make, so they are aware you are hearing.


7. Be Aware of Underlying Issues
Be open to the idea that there may be unspoken issues your aren't aware of (unresolved issues from the past, something changed, etc.)


8. Talk It Out
Once you've established a mutual desire to work together, get all of the issues and feelings out into the open. Don't leave out the part that seems "too difficult" to discuss or "too insignificant" to be important. Your solution will work best if all issues are discussed thoroughly. Often the dispute is due to misunderstanding the details.


9. Work On a Solution
Two or more people cooperating are much more effective than one person telling another to change. Be specific: "I will turn my music off at midnight" is better than a vague, "I won't play loud music anymore." Then write down your agreement and what each person will do. Cooperative communication validates each person's view of reality.


10. Follow-Up
Agree to check with each other at specific times to make sure that the agreement is still working. Set dates and time line before you part.





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