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Nonverbal Conflict Resolution

As we all come out from the COVID-19 pandemic, and enter the real world once again, we all need to brush off our communication skills. There will be many times when we feel at loss for words, so it is important to utilize non-verbal communication. Our facial expressions, gestures, body movement, physical spacing, and tone of voice speak for us more often than most realize. In high stress, or difficult situations where there may be some conflict, it is important to manipulate non verbal communication to de-escalate and confront the issue. While it is very important to keep your own nonverbal communication in check, it can also help you understand the true emotions others are feeling around you during a conflict.

What is conflict? Conflict is more than just a civil disagreement. When conflict is not handled it can fester, and only continue to build the strong emotions felt by those associated in the issue. Perceptions also play a significant role in how those involved react, it is key to make your opinion apparent, and to know others true feelings. To be able to get optimal usage out of any form of conflict resolution, it is important that you have emotional awareness. Emotional awareness means to know what you feel and why you feel it. Without emotional awareness you can not understand yourself, so how are you supposed to be able to understand others? You need a strong platform and direction when it comes to solving conflicts. For nonverbal conflict resolution it is good to be confident at recognizing patterns or changes in behavior and presence. There are a few easy tells when it comes to emotion indication. The quickest way to tell how someone is feeling is look at their facial expression and body language. Arms crossed, head down, occasional head shakes, balling of the fist, lip biting, and more are all simple indicators of frustration and high levels of emotional build up. In most situations you want to mimic body language to put others at ease, although in a conflict situation it is best to portray a focused, calm representation. Keep eye contact, talk in a calming voice tone, and avoid crossing arms and other anger indicators, to ease the person you are in conflict with, show them you want to listen and solve the issue. Eye contact can go a long way in rocky situations. It can help you get a good understanding of how others are physically presenting themselves, it shows respect which helps them want to listen and talk to you, and demonstrates that you are serious. If you start to feel those around you start to build up, depending on the situation you could give them some space, or reassure them with a simple touch, like a hand on the shoulder. There are plenty of options to sooth and ease a situation.

Conflicts while they may be very undesirable, and conflicting they occur regularly amongst coworkers, friends, family, and more, so it's necessary to know tips to handle the issue. Conflicts are simply exacerbated arguments that hold a lot of tension, that can be used to release built up emotions. They can be used as a learning opportunity, for improving people skills, interacting with difficult people or people you just do not get along with, and work on communicating your emotions. Like many things in life it all runs in a big loop. The more emotional awareness you have, the better you are at handling conflict, and the more conflict you have the more practice and honing of emotional awareness. The better you handle the conflict the higher chances for a better outcome, for yourself and for the group. A proper approach could also earn you respect and admiration.


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