Its true, “blessed are the peacemakers…” but sometimes, one can find himself in a situation where every effort initiated toward forging peace seems to fuel the fire of contention, and when every well-meaning word uttered, is like throwing bullets into a fire.
So what is the science of being a peacemaker and how can you avoid being an argumentative person?
#1 Be more of a listener than a talker
Fortunately, only about 8% of people talk more than they listen. Keeping quiet is a difficult skill to master, but one necessary because you can not learn unless you listen. The more self-aware you are about the balance between talking and listening, the greater success you will have in life.
So remember, be more of a friend than an arguer.
Instead of becoming defensive, accept that the other person might not know any better or that perhaps, you may have and an insecurity issue.
When we get defensive, we make it that much harder for our conversational counterparts to hear and to accept what we’re saying. We also make it harder to really listen to what ‘they’ have to say.
Resulting, in us shadow-boxing, trying to defend our position against attacks that are not existent, wasting time, energy and relationship capital — on damage control instead of solving the problem at hand.
The next time someone says something that gets you bent out of shape, try to remember the following three words; Defend, Retaliate, Solution.
After someone has said something that causes emotional and physical convulsion and makes you want to become defensive may I suggest you adopt the follwoing approach :
Reaction 1 – Think of the first thing you want to say or do, and DON’T do that. Instead, take a deep breath. That is because the first thing you want to do is DEFEND yourself against what you perceive as an attack or offense.
Reaction 2 – Think of the second thing you want to say or do and DON’T do that, either. Take a second leap to exercise your respiratory system. That is because the second thing you want to do after being attacked is to RETALIATE. That is only going to escalate the situation and get you in hot waters.
Reaction 3 – Think of the third thing you want to say or do and then DO that. That is because once you get past defending yourself and retaliating, you have a better chance of seeking a SOLUTION.
Hope that help you a bit…
#2 Don’t assume that what you know is obvious to others. It wasn’t always obvious to you
It’s easy to make assumptions. All you need is incomplete information about a situation, and an unwillingness to ask the questions you need to complete the information. This makes you an “ASSUMER!”
In the absence of complete information, you tempted to fill in the blanks with YOUR interpretation of what you see or hear. Your interpretation comes from two places:
1. Your past experiences that seem similar, and
2. What you’ve heard from others about them.
Armed with your fragmented information,
- You connect dots that aren’t there.
- Connections that don’t exist!
- You jump to conclusions that are wrong.
Imagine a commercial pilot assuming information while in flight? That would be disastrous! He would never be allowed to fly an aircraft again. It is strange how we get away with being over presumptuous.
Assumptions are ALWAYS wrong. I have a perfect record with the assumptions I’ve made. About 90% of them have been wrong. And it’s hard to believe that I’m unique in this. So I have learned to be the precaution in this area.
#3 Challenge the behavior and not the person
Ineffective communication occurs when we challenge (or label) a person and not their behavior.
There is a uselessness about challenging the person and not the behavior when something they have done upsets us.
In so many areas of communication, and particularly in dispute situations, there is a focusing on what someone is perceived to be rather than the behavior they exhibit.
“Peter is lazy, James is a racist, Sharon is sexist.” can be affair labeling when we’ve not really gained a lot of information about them other than a subjective view of the person from another person’s point of view.
Such doesn’t move anything forward.